Saudi Arabia stands as a pioneer of Esports in the Middle East

Once again, Saudi Arabia has surprised the world by committing to hosting an annual esport World Cup in the summer of 2024. This ambitious project, driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmane, aims to position the Kingdom at the heart of the booming global video game industry. Soon, gamers from all over the world, including Asia, Europe and the USA, will converge on Saudi Arabia to compete in the most important event of their professional gaming careers.

Transforming the country to serve its vision

Beyond the entertainment and crowds that will flock to Saudi Arabia's gaming infrastructures, the country's initiative is part of a profound transformation process, called "Vision 2030". The aim is ambitious: to diversify the national economy and position itself in dynamic new markets, such as new technologies and e-sports, in order to reduce dependence on hydrocarbons. Nevertheless, MBS also wishes to focus on a sector that is highly popular with Saudi youth.

The organization of the Esport World Cup is another demonstration that Saudi Arabia is opening up new horizons for the country, and creating a bridge between occidentalization and traditional culture.

Massive investment in Esports

Crown Prince MBS is both a visionary and a video game enthusiast, and has made e-sports a national priority. The Kingdom has already injected $38 billion into the video game industry, acquiring significant stakes in giants such as Electronic Arts and Nintendo.

These strategic investments are aimed at establishing a robust and sustainable e-sport industry, capable of generating 39,000 jobs by 2030. With the largest prize fund in the history of e-sport, this World Cup is shaping up to be the most ambitious event ever staged.

Soft Power ? Yes, but not only

The nomination of Saudi Arabia as host of the e-sport World Cup illustrates much more than a simple commitment. It symbolizes a significant turning point in the evolution of human rights in the Kingdom since 2018. What's more, this initiative is no coincidence, but the result of a deliberate desire on the part of the West to forge closer economic and political ties with nations around the world, thus fully integrating these countries into the fabric of the international scene.

So, beyond its soft power ambitions, hosting the e-sport World Cup underlines Saudi Arabia's profound aspiration to position itself as a visionary leader in a Middle East in the throes of reunification. This is no longer just a question of image; it is the concrete expression of an ambitious project aimed at radically transforming the region, placing the Kingdom at the heart of a new era marked by innovation, shared prosperity and integration into the global economy.

Concretely, this is also reinforced by collaboration with organizations experienced in organizing e-sport tournaments, such as the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and the renewed management of the Esports World Cup (EWC) under the aegis of Ralf Reichert.

Saudi Arabia's move into esports represents much more than an economic ambition; it's a vision of the future in which video games become a vehicle for change, unity and social development. By opening up to e-sport, the Kingdom is not just diversifying its economy; it is actively participating in building a future where cultural barriers are transcended by shared common interests.

Sources :

https://www.radiofrance.fr/franceculture/podcasts/un-monde-connecte/arabie-saoudite-l-esport-comme-outil-de-soft-power-1018857

https://www.ouest-france.fr/sport/esport/larabie-saoudite-annonce-la-creation-dune-coupe-du-monde-desport-annuelle-aa1df50c-71b1-11ee-a00f-d55111ba52f2

https://www.bfmtv.com/tech/gaming/esport-l-arabie-saoudite-va-organiser-une-coupe-du-monde-annuelle-avec-la-plus-grande-dotation-de-l-histoire_AD-202310230556.html

https://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2023/10/25/e-sport-l-arabie-saoudite-annonce-la-tenue-d-une-coupe-du-monde-a-partir-de-l-ete-2024_6196412_4408996.html#