HomeeSportsGroundbreaking gaming and esports district slated for Saudi Arabia

Groundbreaking gaming and esports district slated for Saudi Arabia

Groundbreaking gaming and esports district slated for Saudi Arabia

Qiddiya City is set to become established as the worldwide hub for gaming and esports, with plans unveiled this week for the world’s premier mixed-use gaming and esports district.

The pioneering venture in a burgeoning sector aims to attract gamers globally and solidify Saudi Arabia’s position as a dynamic force in the gaming sector.

Established in 2018, Qiddiya is billed as an entertainment megaproject – situated 40 kilometres outside the nation’s capital, Riyadh – and part of the Saudi Vision 2030, which is designed to diversify Saudi Arabia’s income streams and relieve its reliance on oil. It also aims to increase local spending by Saudis, as well as significantly increasing overseas tourism.

The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud, relaunched the delayed Qiddiya City project earlier this month. Among its other touted attractions are 43 sports facilities, 12 theme parks, 15 hospitals and 160,000 residences.

The gaming and esports district within Qiddiya City shapes as another key component and will feature four dedicated esports venues, hosting major esports events throughout the year. With a combined seating capacity of 73,000, the venues will be a magnet for esports enthusiasts. Notably, one of these venues will house the largest indoor LED screen in any esports arena, accommodating 5,300 seats and ranking among the top three largest esports venues globally.

“Qiddiya City is proud to be home to this innovative gaming and esports district, set to offer a unique, engaging, gamified experience to both its visitors and residents,” said Abdullah Aldawood, Managing Director of Qiddiya Investment Company.

Qiddiya City’s esports district will become the permanent base for the world’s elite esports clubs, providing state-of-the-art facilities for up to 25 clubs to live, train and compete. Additionally, the district will serve as a welcoming space for leaders in the gaming and esports industry, housing the regional headquarters of over 30 prominent video game companies.

Encompassing an expansive area of more than 500,000 square meters, the gaming and esports district will not only feature cutting-edge gaming spaces but also include 100,000 square meters of retail, dining and entertainment venues, along with residential units and hotels rooms tailored to gamers.

This initiative aligns with the National Gaming and Esports Strategy, aiming to position Saudi Arabia as the global centre for gaming and esports by 2030, capitalising on an estimated two-thirds proportion population in the nation being avid gaming participants.

The first phase of Qiddiya was scheduled to be finished in 2022 with a Six Flags theme park expected to be operational by 2023, but there have been significant delays with Saudi officials admitting recently that some Vision 2030 projects have been pushed back several years.

But Qiddiya – underwritten by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund – seems certain to become a sporting epicentre. A Formula 1 grade racing circuit is under construction and scheduled to take over as host of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from 2027, while Qiddiya shapes as the likely hub of the 2034 FIFA World Cup, which Saudi Arabia is currently the only bidder for.

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