CITC Governor: Saudi eSports Market to See 250% Growth


Without a doubt, Saudi Arabia will be making a big splash on the eSports scene, and this growth is not unintentional. Even though eSports are anticipated to grow by 250% in Saudi Arabia over the next few years, the country already has a large grassroots video gaming community. All of this is made possible by the government's commitment.

The news comes straight from Mohammed Saud Al-Tamimi, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) which is tasked with making video gaming and eSports a more permanent aspect of the Saudi economy in the coming years. The country is investing heavily in the sector and expects to notch up significant growth through 2030.

eSports: An Opportunity for Future Generations


Al-Tamimi, however, is unconcerned since according to the official's new estimate, 89% of all Saudis are already avid gamers, which is greater than the figure Prince Faisal bin Bandar, chairman of the Saudi eSports Federation, had previously predicted. The conflicting figures may appear to be the result of some confusion between the two branches of the Saudi Arabian government, but both individuals are certain that the numbers are rising even at this point. Al-Tamimi, on the other hand, opts to remain with the larger figure, claiming that 89% of the population currently plays video games. However, it's not only about video games or eSports in general. Just like Casinoelarabs helps you find the most lucrative deals on the market, the Saudis are banking on eSports to help drive a significant boost to the country’s gross domestic product.

According to Al-Tamimi, the contributions to the economy will be 50 times bigger than they are now by 2030. Such a prediction is as encouraging as it is baffling but officials feel very strongly about the success of Saudi Arabia’s eSports and gaming bid. They argue that through a tailored approach, the country can train more players and more video gaming specialists who will then work in newly attracted international companies that will produce video games for global export. The CITC has already embarked on a program that will train more than 4,000 students over the next two years.

There is also the backing of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has taken a very keen interest in making eSports succeed in the country and insists that there must be more opportunities for young people to enjoy video gaming openly, and even competitively. These remarks come against a backdrop of Saudi Arabia defeating Argentina during the World Cup. The question now remains if the Saudis can build up in sectors they have often been snubbed at. They definitely feel like they can.

Not Just eSports, But Video Gaming Too


Saudi Arabia though, as mentioned previously, is not just going to train eSports athletes – although the country definitely wants to compete at the highest level. The Crown Prince himself is a big fan of Dota, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, and a range of other video games. However, he is also smart about the future. Video gaming is definitely good for the kingdom’s reputation, but he also wants to equip young people with in-demand skills that will help his kingdom thrive in the future. As Qatar has done with the 2022 World Cup, the kingdom is investing more than $37 billion to ensure that it can draw businesses, attention, and tourists.

In addition to courting companies such as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts, Riot Games, and Valve, with offices in the kingdom, the Crown Prince is already making sure to buy up important media assets. Saudi Arabia bought ESL and FACEIT in a deal that cost $1.5 billion, which is encouraging news for people who are training to work in the industry, as there will be many new jobs to explore.

Although there is limitless opportunity for the Middle East to establish and stage local competitions that appeal to an international audience while still being focused on the local market and seeking to engage most with locals, opening up to eSports will also generate more jobs in the region.

Activision, Nintendo, Take-Two, and other companies are among those the Saudis are attempting to entice to establish local headquarters. On the back end, the kingdom is aiming to educate engineers and other professionals who can support these businesses locally and encourage them to grow their operations in Saudi Arabia. The future of video gaming in the kingdom is a major bet for the Saudis. Whether it pays off, only time will show.


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