Saudi esports and gaming strategy expects to boost GDP by $13.3 bln, add 39,000 jobs

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince has announced a plan to develop the country’s gaming and esports industry, aiming to create 39,000 jobs and boost GDP by $13.3 billion (50 billion riyals) by 2030.

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The new National Gaming and Esports Strategy will involve business incubators, new educational academies, and regulation intended to stimulate growth of the industry, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as saying on Thursday.

Major competitions and other events are also expected to be announced as part of the plan.

Saudi gaming studios are expected to benefit from the plan, and a target has been set for the studios to produce more than 30 games in the Kingdom by 2030.

20 government entities will implement and manage the 86 new initiatives, SPA reported.

There will be several different areas of focus including technology and hardware development, game production, esports competition, infrastructure, regulations, education, talent acquisition, and financing.

The strategy’s introduction follows a major international esports tournament that was held in Riyadh across eight weeks beginning July 14.

Gamers8 brought together top competitors from around the world to go head-to-head in six different titles: Rocket League, DOTA 2, Fortnite, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and PUBG Mobile.

The Kingdom hopes to become one of the top three countries with the highest number of esports competitors by encouraging more Saudis to take up professional gaming.

A total prize pool of $15 million was on offer for competitors, and there were a variety of musical and other performances.

Revenue from the global gaming industry is expected to top $200 billion in 2022, according to an review of more than 140 publicly-listed game companies by market analyst Newzoo.

The US is currently the highest spender on video games, with gaming revenues expected to reach $50.5 billion this year, according to Newzoo, and China is second with revenues of $50.2 billion.

Middle East and Africa gaming revenues are currently lower than in any other region, accounting for just four percent of worldwide spending, according to the same report.

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