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Saudi crown prince announces esports ‘world cup’

The move follows significant Saudi investment in both video games and traditional sports.
People attend the International E-Sport Gamers forum "Next World," Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 7, 2022.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Monday the “Esports World Cup,” representing Saudi Arabia’s continued interests in sports and video games investment.

The crown prince, aka MBS, said the cup will be held annually, beginning in the capital Riyadh in the summer of 2024. The tournament will include unspecified popular video games from all genres. MBS claimed the competition will be the biggest of its kind in the world and will have the largest prize pool in the history of esports, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Esports refers to competitive video gaming. Participants play games such as PUBG and Call of Duty against opponents in a competitive, tournament-style format.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia is steadily building up its esports industry. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) launched the Savvy Games Group in January 2022 to develop esports in the kingdom. The following September, MBS unveiled a national video games strategy.

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