Coronavirus: Saudi esports charity event Gamers Without Borders becomes biggest ever

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Saudi Arabia’s esports fundraiser Gamers Without Borders has become the biggest esports charity event ever, with 120,000 players from over 70 countries competing for a charity prize pool of $10 million.

Gamers from around the world have been competing in a variety of online multiplayer games including “Call of Duty,” “Fortnite” and “Rainbow Six: Siege,” with the winners deciding where the prize money will be sent. The tournament is currently halfway through, ending on June 7, while $6.5 million of the total prize money has already been donated.

The tournament has been set up as the coronavirus pandemic keeps people at home, shuts businesses, and restricts travel to a minimum. Countries around the world have implemented strict lockdown measures to combat COVID-19, which has caused over 350,000 deaths worldwide with untold economic repercussions and human suffering.

“It’s inspiring to see Gamers Without Borders and Saudi Arabia connect the global gaming community and help respond to COVID-19 through supporting these international charities,” said Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) in a statement.

SAFEIS is organizing the event with the technical support of ESL, the world’s largest esports company.

A Fortnite player competing in Gamers Without Borders. (Supplied)
A Fortnite player competing in Gamers Without Borders. (Supplied)

The tournament is open to anyone, and features a two-tier system. Amateurs and gaming enthusiasts can compete across six global community tournaments each week, with the best performers climbing up for a chance to compete in the upper tier against the world’s most elite gamers.

At the elite level, a share of the $10 million prize fund is up for grabs and can be distributed to one of 12 different charities selected by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

All the tournaments have been streamed live with support in eight different languages, including Arabic, English, and Mandarin, according to a statement. So far, more than five million have tuned in to watch players and teams battle out for their chance to send part of the prize money to their chosen coronavirus charity.

The Gamers Without Borders virtual studio. (Supplied)
The Gamers Without Borders virtual studio. (Supplied)

“To have brought together such a huge number of global gamers to watch, game, donate and learn in just four weeks really shows the power that e-sports possesses. Gaming has proved it transcends all borders – and there’s more to come in the next few weeks,” Prince Faisal added.

Gamers can still sign up for the event at the Gamers Without Borders website. The site also describes how to stream all of the elite level competitions.

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