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Saudi Arabia’s Gaming Sector Is Quickly Gathering Momentum

Around 3,000 locals already attend Gamers8, an 8-week eSports festival in Riyadh, with a tournament prize pool of $45 million.

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saudi arabia's gaming sector is quickly gathering momentum

Saudi Arabian locals make no secret of their passion for video games and eSports, with even Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman rumored to be an avid Call of Duty player.

Last year, the Saudi royal announced a $38-billion investment strategy for the Kingdom’s Savvy Games Group, which is owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund.

Meanwhile, as Gamers8 — an eight-week eSports festival in Riyadh with 3,000 attendees — gathers momentum, the government is increasingly emphasizing local game production, hoping to turn Saudi Arabia into “an Eden for game developers” with homegrown titles promoting Arabic culture.

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“In the past, Arabs were only buying games, not developing games. Now, there is an opportunity to develop games, design your own ideas, and make them a reality according to local customs and traditions,” explained developer Mohammed Al Fakih.

Two-thirds of the non-immigrant population of Saudi Arabia is aged under 30, making the country an important player in the world video game market. In addition, some 25,000 domestic and foreign developers are currently working to find the winning formula that will help a locally-produced title break out on the world stage.

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“With the expertise coming from outside and the knowledge being transferred, we will soon notice some games that can really take off internationally,” said Faisal bin Homran, chief eSports officer at the Saudi Esports Federation.

Also Read: Abu Dhabi-Developed AI Arabic Language Model Unveiled

Saudi Arabia’s national strategy has even more ambitious dreams: By 2030, officials hope that 30 globally competitive games will have been produced in domestic studios.

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Hamad International Wins 2024 Skytrax World Airport Awards

The Qatar airport also won “World’s Best Airport Shopping” for the 2nd time, and “Best Airport in the Middle East” for the 10th year.

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hamad international wins 2024 skytrax world airport awards

Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha, Qatar, has once again won the “World’s Best Airport” title at the Skytrax World Airport Awards. The award ceremony, held at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2024 in Frankfurt, Germany, also saw Hamad clinch the accolade of “World’s Best Airport Shopping” for the 2nd time in a row and “Best Airport in the Middle East” for an impressive 10th consecutive year.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, who played a key role in the airport’s development over the past decade, said: “This is a remarkable achievement for Hamad International Airport, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary of operational excellence, connecting passengers seamlessly from all around the world. It is a testament to the dedication of our team and partners, who have contributed to providing passengers with the finest travel experience”.

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Al-Meer emphasized the importance of understanding changing travel trends and the needs of modern air passengers: “At the heart of our growth strategy lies the passengers’ journey, their evolving needs, and our commitment to meeting and exceeding their expectations. We have introduced a diverse range of experiences at the airport, including Souq Al Matar, which brings Qatari hospitality and culture closer to travelers, “Orchard”, the ideal place for relaxation and rejuvenation between flights, and an array of high-end lounges”.

Also Read: Top E-Commerce Websites In The Middle East In 2024

Hamad International Airport saw a massive 31% surge in passenger traffic during 2023, with the transport hub now serving over 45 million passengers annually. The airport is now home to prestigious airlines, including Vistara, Iberia, Xiamen Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, and Japan Airlines, serving 250+ destinations for passenger and cargo flights.

The uptick in traffic is no doubt due to the completion of the first phase of an extensive expansion project. Hamad’s management intends to radically update the airport’s facilities over the coming years in a bid to create the “airport of the future”. The expansion features a unique and calming environment of lush greenery and several contemporary dining and shopping concepts among the already well-equipped leisure facilities.

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