Gamers8, eSports festival in Saudi Arabia, announced that the 2023 season will have the biggest prize pool in the history of global eSports competitions.
According to reports, the event will start on July 6, in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and will last eight weeks. This length of time, by the way, is also considered a record. Added together, the Gamers8 prize pool will be US$ 45 million. The value is three times higher than the 2022 edition.
More than a global gathering of professional gamers, Gamers8 tries to approach the format of a festival, promoting discussion forums and lectures on game development and programming, in addition to performances, musical shows and various other attractions for the gamer public.
The tournament’s official website does not show any master sponsors, except the support of the Arab e-Sports Federation. The body was created only at the end of 2017, which demonstrates the rapid evolution of the sector on Arab soil.
According to the London site eSports Insider, the global community of competitors shows some concern with the exponential increase in Saudi Arabia’s influence in the world of eSports.
“The Saudi government has previously been accused of ‘sports laundering’, an attempt to use games to divert attention from the country’s history of violating human rights, especially that of LGBTQ+ people and women,” the website said.
This is a recurring pattern since Saudi Arabia decided to invest heavy amounts in the sports segment. The subject has generated worldwide repercussions and has recently caused a headache for Fifa.
Saudi eSports Federation Chairman, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan commented in a press release:
“It is our great pleasure to once again welcome the elite of the esports world to Riyadh for Gamers8, the Land of Heroes, where the very best in esports shine and triumph.”
“Our goal is to serve the global community of eSports and gaming enthusiasts, and ultimately to develop the global ecosystem of esports.” Prince Faisal added.