Gamers Crowned New Athletes: Saudi Arabia Hosts $60M Esports World Cup Amidst Silence on Palestine

There will be 22 events spanning 21 diverse games. Approximately 1,500 gamers from 30 teams will compete for points in these tournaments, alongside various group events.

Here are some games which will be included in the tournament:

  • Street Fighter 6
  • Honour of Kings
  • Call of Duty: War Zone
  • Tekken 8
  • Fortnight
  • Rainbow 6 Siege
  • Alex legends
  • Dota 2
  • Overwatch 2

Gamers are the new Athletes

In recent years, gamers have ascended to the status of modern-day athletes, challenging traditional perceptions of athleticism.

The rise of esports and competitive gaming has prompted comparisons to traditional sports, highlighting the skill, dedication, and strategic acumen essential in gaming. Professional gamers adhere to rigorous training regimens, often lasting up to 12 hours per session.

Research suggests that gaming enhances reflexes and mental acuity. However, prolonged periods of escapism have also been shown to significantly detrimentally affect well-being and quality of life.

Tournaments such as the esports World Cup 2024 highlight the global recognition and admiration for these “digital athletes,” who command large audiences and lucrative sponsorships.

Esports will crown the overall winner and distribute £15.75 million ($20m) to the top 16 clubs that have gained the most overall points by the end of the eight-week span.

Saudi Arabia’s Priorities 

The kingdom has already made substantial investments with a $38-billion initiative in gaming under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 program, aiming to diversify the economy from its reliance on oil.

“We don’t pause. We don’t do neutral,” Savvy Games CEO Brian Ward spoke in a joint interview in Japan alongside Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, the chair of the Saudi eSports Federation.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia has acquired stakes in Capcom, the creator of “Resident Evil,” and in the Japanese conglomerate Nintendo. Additionally, investments have been made in Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts.

Saudi Arabia’s goal is to establish 250 gaming companies and studios within its borders, create 39,000 jobs related to gaming, rank among the top three countries in terms of professional gamers per capita, and develop a blockbuster “AAA” game by 2030.

Meanwhile, a recent report by the prestigious medical journal The Lancet asserts that the Gaza death toll could exceed 186,000.