- Agreement signed between six GCC countries to establish the GCC Esports Federation
- Fourteen 14 MOUs signed across two-day Forum, with numerous business deals also concluded
- ‘This is just the beginning’ – Turki Alfawzan, CEO of the Saudi Esports Federation
RIYADH-: Next World Forum, a major global industry gathering created to shape the future of the rapidly evolving gaming and esports sector, has substantially helped drive business growth, organizers said on Thursday as the two-day conference concluded.
Hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center, the Next World Forum brought the global gaming and esports community together to discuss the development of this vibrant, economically flourishing, and collaborative ecosystem.
Organized by the Saudi Esports Federation, more than 2,500 delegates, including CEOs, government ministers, investors, gamers, developers, publishers, broadcasters, and leaders from gaming, entertainment, technology, and sports, were in attendance.
An agreement between the six GCC countries to establish the GCC Esports Federation and elevate athletes through annual eLeague tournaments was one of 14 MOUs signed across Wednesday and Thursday at the Next World Forum. Numerous other business deals were also agreed at the forum’s second edition, which has substantially built on the success of last year’s inaugural event.
Turki Alfawzan, CEO of the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “The Next World Forum has provided the worldwide industry of gaming and esports an extensive platform for business growth and progression that further our aims of Saudi Arabia becoming a global hub for gaming and esports. Being part of the Next World Forum platform has proved a win for everyone. In our exceptionally rapid industry that is changing dramatically on a seemingly constant basis, the chance to converge in Riyadh instigates big ideas, meaningful discussions, and exceptional business opportunities.
“As we all reflect on two days of inspiration and action, our message from the conclusion of this year’s Next World Forum is very much that this is just the beginning.”
Signing sessions at the Next World Forum were also conducted by Saudi Esports Federation and Prince Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business & Entrepreneurship (MBSC); Saudi Esports Federation and Ministry of Education; Saudi Esports Federation and Kuwait Esports Federation; Saudi Esports Federation and Bahrain Esports Federation; Saudi Esports Federation and Qatar Esports Federation; Saudi Esports Federation and Kentucky Fried Chicken; Saudi Development Bank; STC play and LG; STC play and Geekay Esports; and the Saudi Tourism Authority.
After opening day panel sessions that included discussions with Gareth Bale, the former star footballer and esports investor and enthusiast, and Michael Bay, the producer and director of films including Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and the Transformers film series, day two proved just as intriguing.
Day two panel sessions at the Next World Forum included:
‘The Players Deserve Better: The Future of Gaming and Esports Facilities’; ‘Power Play Chat: A Conversation between Changemakers’; ‘Virtual Realities, Real World Consequences: The Impact of Politics in Gaming’; ‘Breaking the Code: The Challenges for Women in Gaming Leadership’; ‘The Next Level: A New Chapter for the Saudi Esports Federation’; ‘AI-pocalypse Now – Where Do We Draw the Line?’; ‘Press the Pause Button: Analyzing Esports Players’ Mental and Physical Health; ‘Better Digital Governance in the Metaverse and the Blockchain’; ‘Gaming Localization: Speaking to Gamers in their Language’; and ‘Stronger Together: The ESL FACEIT Group Story’.
Reaam Alkhudairi, Program Manager for the Next World Forum, and Corporate Communications & PR Team Lead at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “Encapsulating creativity, innovation and diversity, we are immensely proud that the Next World Forum panels embraced the full spectrum of gaming and esports and its associated industries. Featuring eminent leaders and expert speakers, the forum attracted more than 2,500 delegates this year from all corners of the world, fully reflecting the global appeal of gaming.
“The Next World Forum this year set out seeking to ask the tough questions of gaming and esports – after much discussion over the past two days, one thing every delegate will absolutely agree upon is that the forum has helped significantly shape the future of our industry.”
Next World Forum also brought the curtain down on Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, the biggest gaming and esports festival worldwide, which began on July 6 at Boulevard Riyadh City featuring 16 elite tournaments from 13 top titles. The eight-week long entertainment extravaganza also featured more than 30 live concert performances from global, regional, and local stars, and thousands of activities and attractions.