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Qiddiya to host first gaming district in Saudi Arabia

A rendering of the gaming district in Qiddiya, which will cover more than 500,000 sq m SPA
A rendering of the gaming district in Qiddiya, which will cover more than 500,000 sq m

The Qiddiya giga-project, near Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, will host the first multi-use gaming and e-sports district in Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom is striving to become a global gaming and sports centre by 2030.

The upcoming gaming and e-sports district, which is claimed to be the first in the world, is part of the launch of a National Strategy for Gaming and Esports, state-run SPA news agency reported.

“The gaming and e-sports sector is one of the fastest growing, and we can see the ambitious plans of the Kingdom to advance it,” Abdullah Aldawood, managing director, Qiddiya Investment Company, said.

“Our role will be to host major events and tournaments by developing the infrastructure,” he added.

The district is expected to include four arenas designed to host major global events in the gaming sector throughout the year, with the capacity of the stadium reaching 73,000 seats.

One of the venues will have 5,300 seats, making it one of the three largest e-sports stadiums in the world. The district will also have the largest indoor LED screen among all e-sports areas worldwide.

The district will cover more than 500,000 sq m, including 100,000 sq m dedicated to retail, dining and entertainment. In addition, it will have gaming-themed apartments and hotels.

The zone will host up to 25 global e-sports clubs and provide regional headquarters to more than 30 leading video game development companies.

The financial details and completion timelines were not given.

The kingdom announced plans to host the E-sports World Cup, to be held annually in Riyadh from 2024, in October.

The world cup is part of the kingdom’s National Gaming and E-sports Strategy, designed to increase the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP by more than SAR50 billion ($13.3 billion) by 2030, establish 250 game developers and create 39,000 new jobs.

In September 2022, Savvy Games Group, wholly-owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced plans to invest SAR142 billion ($37.8 billion) across four programmes.

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