Following on from last year’s spectacular inaugural event, Gamers8, the biggest gaming and esports festival worldwide, has made a blistering return to the limelight with its highly anticipated second edition, amazing audiences and captivating the globe with an action-packed schedule of tournaments and entertainment.
Organized by the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) and held under the banner of Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, the event has consolidated its status as the ultimate destination for gamers, esports enthusiasts, and families and children of all ages – drawing record crowds while living up to its billing as the ultimate summer spectacle.
Four weeks after the season’s launch, and with four more to go, we look back on the story so far with input from Ahmed Albishri, Deputy CEO at SEF and Season Lead for Gamers8: The Land of Heroes. Here’s what you need to know…
Hosted at the state-of-the-art, purpose-built venue at Boulevard Riyadh City, the eight-week festival got underway on July 6 and was destined to become a new benchmark for gaming and esports globally. With a total prize pool over $45 million – triple last year’s grand prize offering – the planet’s very best players and franchises have come to Saudi Arabia in search of glory and global supremacy. And the Kingdom’s capital has since become an exhilarating battleground for competitors and fans alike.
“Gamers8 stands proudly as the unrivaled pinnacle of gaming and esports festivals internationally and we were determined to build on last year’s success,” said Albishri. “This is why we presented an extraordinary line-up of 15 tournaments featuring 12 renowned titles and some of the most popular games in history.
FIFA is another of the world’s best-selling franchises to have appeared at Gamers8 for the first time – with three separate FIFA 23 tournaments taking place. Germany’s RBLZ Gaming edged out fellow European outfit FUTWIZ 3-2 in the FIFAe Club World Cup final to win the $1 million tournament, while Brazil won the FIFAe Nations Cup, defeating the Netherlands 3-2 in the final for a cool $120,000. The Netherlands emerged victorious, however, over Australia in a dramatic penalty shootout to become FIFAe World Cup winners.
The inclusion of new titles at Gamers8: The Land of Heroes is indeed a testament to the festival’s evolution in such a short time. However, the legacy of its predecessor, Gamers8: Your Portal to the Next World, has not been forgotten – hence the return of tournaments so brilliantly received last time out.
Among these include PUBG Mobile World Invitational. The $2 million tournament pitted 24 of the planet’s best teams against each other as Vampire Esports won the competition and $500,000 first prize. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege also returned and Team BDS emerged victorious from another thrilling $2 million tactical shooter game tournament. The Dota2 Riyadh Masters has also been back in the Gamers8 main event, with a staggering $15 million prize pool.
Elsewhere, music concerts have also delighted festival-goers. Saudi singer Rabeh Sager headlined the Week 1 concert alongside Alan Walker, Tiwa Savage, and Vinyl Mode. The sensational start was followed by Macklemore, R3HAB, Hamaki, and DJ Sharkk in Week 2.
Afrojack, WEGZ, Shaolin, Moayad Alnfaiee, and Dafencii got the crowds going seven days later, with Imagine Dragons headlining the Week 4 concert with Mishaal Tamer, Jordanian band Autostrad, and Saudi-born DJ Loush on July 28.
“The first four weeks have been incredible, setting the scene for what follows and leaving Gamers8: The Land of Heroes perfectly poised to continue delighting those in attendance and everyone tuning in online,” said Albishri.
“We’re incredibly excited about the coming weeks as fans continue watching the world’s elite esports teams, attending immersive experiences, watching performances by A-list music artists, enjoying activities and attractions, learning about the creation of video games, and much more.”
The 2022 edition of Gamers8 was visited by more than 1.4 million visitors and watched by more than 132 million people around the world. This year, over 2.5 million visitors are expected with esports tournaments including StarCraft II, Street Fighter 6, PUBG Global Series 2, CS:GO, and Rocket League still to come.
Gamers8: The Land of Heroes concludes with the Next World Forum, a gaming and esports forum held at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center on August 30-31, bringing together sector leaders and experts from around the world.
For more information on Gamers8 and where you can tune in, check out the official website. You can also catch all the live action on the Gamers8 Twitch channel, where the main tournament attractions are streamed to a worldwide audience.