Saudi Crown Prince announces Esports World Cup to replace $45m Gamers8

Declan Mclaughlin

The Gamers8 social media account, and the leader of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, have announced a new event, the Esports World Cup.

Gamers8 is a Saudi Arabian esports tournament that featured multiple esports events in the country and hosted many different teams and organizations worldwide. The tournament series started in 2022 and finished its 2023 edition in late August. Its prize pool across all tournaments last year added up to over $45 million.

At the New Global Sport Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which features top executives from multiple esports companies, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud revealed a new tournament series that will replace Gamers8, The Esports World Cup.

“The Esports World Cup is the natural next step in Saudi Arabia’s journey to become the premier global hub for gaming and esports, offering an unmatched esports experience that pushes the boundaries of the industry. The competition will enhance our progress towards realizing the Vision 2030 objective of diversifying the economy, growing the tourism sector, creating new jobs in various industries, and providing world-class entertainment for citizens, residents, and visitors alike,” the Crown Prince said in a statement.

No details like prize pool, esports, or timeline have been revealed about the new esports event, other than that it will take place sometime in the summer of 2024.

Gamers8 replaced by the Esports World Cup

Sports, gaming, and esports have been a big part of the Saudia Arabian government’s Vision 2030 plan which involves diversifying the country’s economy away from oil. The country started Savvy Games Group, which is funded through the government’s public investment fund, to help reach that goal in gaming.

Savvy has invested in, or bought, multiple companies in the esports space including ESL, FACEIT, and Chinese esports tournament operator VSPO. Saudi Arabia has even committed to building an “esports city” inside its capital.

Gamers8 and Savvy’s acquisition of some of the biggest esports tournament operators in the esports space has been criticized by the community because of its connections to the county’s government and its record of human rights violations.

This, however, has not stopped some of the biggest names in esports, like G2 Esports and 100 Thieves, from attending Gamers8 or the New Global Sport Conference in the country.

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