Saudi Arabia has announced its plans to host an eSports World Cup, commencing next year, as part of its ongoing efforts to boost the gaming and eSports industry and create numerous local jobs. Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler and an avid gamer himself, stated that this event is a significant step toward making Saudi Arabia a global hub for gaming and eSports.
The Saudi government, particularly since Prince Mohammed’s rise to power, has heavily invested in the gaming and eSports sector. Last year, the crown prince revealed a $38 billion investment strategy for the Savvy Games Group, a company owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, with the aim of generating 39,000 eSports-related jobs by 2030.
Saudi Arabia also aspires to become a hub for game development, with plans to create titles that promote Saudi and Arabic culture. The national eSports strategy aims to have 30 globally competitive games produced by domestic studios by 2030.
The inaugural eSports World Cup is scheduled to take place in the summer and will replace the Gamers8 festival of eSports tournaments, featuring a prize pool of $45 million this year. This initiative is expected to draw visitors and tourists to the capital, Riyadh, during a season when tourism typically declines due to extreme summer temperatures.
While the specific games to be featured in the eSports World Cup have not been disclosed, the event is anticipated to include popular games from various genres and offer one of the largest prize pools in eSports history. Further details are expected to be revealed early next year.