Saudi's Gamers Without Borders: Halfway point sees 30,000 more gamers than 2020

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Gamers Without Borders, the world’s biggest esports charity gaming event has passed its halfway point, according to a statement. The nine-week gaming festival, which began on June 7, has welcomed gamers from 77 countries to more than 100,000 online matches, boasting an increase of more than 30,000 gamers on the same stage in its 2020 debut event.

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Al Arabiya English spoke to Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation which hosts the tournament.

“Together, gamers of all nationalities, ages, genders and abilities have been competing across a whole catalogue of leading gaming titles for a month now, with four weeks still to go, in the company of the world’s biggest gamers and household name celebrities,” Prince Faisal told Al Arabiya English.

HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, SEF President. (Supplied)
HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, SEF President. (Supplied)

Taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic once again, this the second edition of the event will also focus on raising money to tackle the ongoing crisis, particularly in terms of vaccine distribution to countries that need it most.

“Like last year, we have a $10 million prize fund up for grabs – money our elite-level esports athletes compete for, then donate directly to vaccine distribution in the countries that need it most through our partner charities: UNICEF, Gavi, Direct Relief, the International Medical Corps and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Center,” he said.

“The second edition of Gamers Without Borders is acting to leave no one behind as it continues to support in the global fight against COVID-19,” he added.

In addition to fulfilling its role in tackling the pandemic, the event is also aiming to foster an inclusive environment for gamers of the future, while inspiring the next generation of game designers through its free ‘Make It & Play It’ program.

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Saudi Arabian gamer Talal ‘Virus’ al-Malki, one of thousands of gamers partaking in the Gamers Without Borders festival. (Supplied)
Saudi Arabian gamer Talal ‘Virus’ al-Malki, one of thousands of gamers partaking in the Gamers Without Borders festival. (Supplied)

Talal ‘Virus’ al-Malki, Saudi gamer and member of the world’s biggest esports franchise Faze Clan told Al Arabiya English: “Seeing Gamers Without Borders grow to be an even bigger event with more people playing, more money raised, has meant so much to me as a Saudi gamer.”

“Last year’s first ever Gamers Without Borders was a massive moment for Saudi gaming. The Kingdom was at the heart of a true movement, built around gaming and esports, and which united millions of gamers around the world – almost the entire global community – for the greater good,” he said.

“Everyone who has picked-up a controller and played as part of Gamers Without Borders, either in its elite level or amateur-level tournaments, plus the millions who have tuned in to watch it so have all caused a bigger impact than any one person could make,” said ‘Virus’.

A gamer playing in a Gamers Without Borders tournament. (Supplied)
A gamer playing in a Gamers Without Borders tournament. (Supplied)

Viewers and gamers alike are able to show their support by donating “online and at all times,” Prince Faisal revealed.

With more to come in the next four weeks of the event, gamers of all abilities can register to play by visiting this website, which also includes streaming information for all the event’s livestreams for the elite series.

The event’s elite series tournaments have attracted several A-listers to its livestream, including football legends Ronaldinho, Sergio Ramos, Delle Ali and American rapper Chance The Rapper. It has enabled the esports festival to hit a whopping 178 million views on its social content.

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