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Head of Esports at Saudi Esports Federation talks on the importance of Mobile Gaming

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PUBG Mobile event at Gamers8

Mobile Gaming is a billion-dollar industry and a potential sector for investment. Saudi Arabia plans to build a global hub around this market by 2030 and a home to all the esports events under the same roof. Thus, the country has bigger plans and ideas to make the aim real. In an exclusive discussion with GamingonPhone during MSummit Manila, the Head of Esports at Saudi Esports Federation, Faisal Binhomran, expressed his view on the importance of mobile gaming and the mobile esports scene.

We believe in this industry, the potential is enriched. The amount of things happening is not even enough, there is a big market and that is why we believe in this industry. That’s why we’re investing in it,” Faisal Binhomran.

Saudi’s plan for esports starts with National Gaming and Esports Strategy by SEF

Saudi is moving away from fueling its economy from oil money. Now, the country, like the other oil-rich Middle Eastern neighbors, is planning its future days to be backed up by tourism and other money-drawing sectors. Thus, it wants to be an overall hub for any activities that people will likely to come and visit the country.

Being a massive sector and a potential economy, the mobile gaming industry is another area of focus for the country. The gaming industry overall is a big market worldwide. The billion-dollar industry has a larger share of the mobile sector. While the games are now also hosting competitive events, this has become an area of interest for most gamers, this is where Saudi is making the play.

PUBG Mobile event at Gamers8
Image via SEF

So, the country plans to build a hub that will only focus on esports. A city will be built around the esports industry where all kinds of facilities will be presented to the people engaged in this sector. To develop and make the plan real, the country established the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) with HRH Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Al Saud as the Chairman of Board of Directors.

The crown prince initiated the “National Gaming and Esports Strategy” that will “Mark the beginning of a new era toward leading the gaming sector and making Saudi Arabia the global hub for this sector by 2030“. With three main objectives that have a direct impact on the citizens, the private sector, fans, and professionals of games and esports around the world, the plan will provide 50 billion riyals (2.6 billion USD) to the country’s GDP. Besides, it will create around 39,000 new direct and indirect job opportunities by 2030.

National and International investment in esports will be a step forward

“There is a call for diversifying the Saudi economy away from [a reliance on] oil. One of those projects underneath the vision is a specific strategy for gaming and esports,” said Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud.

The Saudi Esports Federation is the core organization behind the country’s operation in esports. The country is going for a full-scale launch with several plans for a sustainable esports ecosystem. The regulatory body is working relentlessly to provide a hub for the esports market, the plan is to merge every title into one place, making it a global hub. The plan is named “Vision 2023” where the aim is to invest a whopping $38 billion for everything related to esports to make it a hub.

Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) declares the Vision 2030Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) declares the Vision 2030
Image via SEF

GamingonPhone asked for Binhomran’s opinion on comparing PC and mobile titles side-by-side, the growth of mobile titles in the esports sector in Saudi Arabia. “I think there will be a community for us. There will be a PC community and there will be a mobile community for us. We’ll have a title for it, Qiddiya City,” said Faisal Binhomran.

Saudi is planning to build a district dedicated to esports namely the Qiddiya City. “Of course, there will be a district that is gaming and esports. So, arenas, clubs, academies…this will be a full solution,” he added. Besides, there will be training facilities built to provide every kind of facility to the teams. Thus, it will bring overseas investments as well. It will be a home to every esports organization that wants to operate in the country. So there’s no doubt that Saudi Esports Federation sees Mobile Gaming as an important part of the overall gaming ecosystem.

Gamers8 event will affect the “Vision 2030” in a much positive way, a kickoff indeed

Before going into what Gamres8 does and the role of this event in the world esports arena, we need to learn about the event first. As stated on the official website, it is “The world’s largest gaming and esports event and the destination for the world’s elite esports champions and gaming universe lovers“. The inaugural event took place in 2022 where several esports titles were featured.

In 2023, the second edition of the event take place in Boulevard Riyadh City. It aims to become a home to all the esports titles and teams around the world where several events will take place including cultural programs, festivals, and so on. Read our article to get a detailed view of this event.

Gamers8 2023 at Riyadh Saudi Arabia, Gamers8 impact Saudi gaming EsportsGamers8 2023 at Riyadh Saudi Arabia, Gamers8 impact Saudi gaming Esports
Image via Gamers8

The Saudi government established its esports federation in late 2017. To develop the community of gamers and the gaming industry in Saudi Arabia, the regulatory body is closely working on developing esports and gamers from the grassroots community to make them professional athletes so that global success can be achieved. Besides, it is the first major step toward establishing a greater event later on. Gamers8 announced that it will be renamed to Esports World Cup soon and all the activities in the future will take place under the new banner. So, moving to Saudi’s goal by 2030, Gamers8 will play one of the key roles in this agenda.

Global partnership to secure a sustainable future in esports

While most of the investment will come from national and international entities, the need for partnering with other investors is a crucial part of the process. A key player in the system will be Savvy Games Group (SGG). The billion-dollar milestone will see the ultimate aim come into the palm when the plan will receive international recognition and attention from investor groups, esports organizations, etc.

Saudi is doing great in this area as the program already received multiple partnerships and investments. Recently, the SEF and Japan Esports Union (JeSU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to grow the esports industry by exchanging knowledge and assets. Apart from this, the federation has partnered with KFC, Saudi Telecom company, Razer, etc. to reach the aim by 2030.

Saudi Esports Federation and Japan Esports Union (JeSU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)Saudi Esports Federation and Japan Esports Union (JeSU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Image via SEF

But the most influential partnership was between Savvy and SEF last May. The year-long partnership will showcase Savvy’s name and brands across the federation’s ecosystem. Savvy Games Group CEO, Brian Ward, said, “At Savvy, we are committed to driving the long-term growth and development of the global esports and games industry. We are excited to continue working closely with SEF to bring gaming enthusiasts an unforgettable experience and support its mission to build the largest esports festival in the world.”

The Gamers8 event gathered a huge number of titles to feature esports. It featured a massive amount of prize money in total which was 40 million, the highest among all. Besides, there were cultural events, concerts, celebrity showcases, and many more things. Saudi Esports Federation is planning to step further with its plan for esports. As the country is planning to take tourism to the next level, it will encompass all the attractive events as well. Thus, mobile esports will play a vital role here. The country’s investment into the gaming sector is massive and so is the opportunity.

What are your thoughts on the Head of Esports at the Saudi Esports Federation commenting on the importance of Mobile Gaming? Let us know in the comments below!

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