The Golden Age of eSports – Saudi Arabia’s $38B Investment is Transforming the Industry

Saudi Arabia esports investments
Saudi Arabia’s $38B Investment is Transforming the e-sports Industry

A lot of business sectors have been growing fast in the last couple of years, and eSports is among them. The industry is growing by leaps and bounds every year as more and more businesses and individuals are investing in it. 2023 was an amazing year for eSports, but by the looks of it, 2024 will be even better.

The data that has access to shows that Saudi Arabia decided to invest around $38B into the gaming industry. Much of that amount goes into eSports, which explains why there are so many tournaments there. “Saudi Arabia’s investments in the gaming sector are part of a much larger goal to diversify its economy. We all know what’s happening in the world of football, so it’s just a matter of time before the same happens in eSports”, said Kris from NB.

Considering the numerous investments and several other factors that we’ll address in just a bit, many people consider this to be the golden age of eSports. The industry is transforming in front of our eyes, and by the looks of it, the sky is the limit. Here is our analysis of the process.

Why Saudi Arabia?

There are many reasons why Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest investors in eSports. As mentioned, the country is working actively to diversify its economy and fulfill the so-called “Vision 2030”. The idea of these investments is to make Saudi the leader in the region.

The country’s plan is for 1% of its GDP to be generated by gaming. To achieve this goal, the company Savvy Games, funded by the government, invested in tons of big gaming studios, such as Activision Blizzard (which was acquired by Microsoft), Nintendo, Take-Two, and even EA. These investments will create more than 40K jobs by 2023, which is great for the local population.

Saudi Arabia business centre

Speaking of it, around 65% of the country’s population is under 30 years old, which means a lot of them play different games.

Interestingly, the kingdom is also into mobile gaming because it recently got Scopely, a leading mobile game developer. In terms of eSports, Saudi also invested around $1.3B in ESL and Faceit. In other words, the country is slowly becoming a gaming powerhouse.

Besides diversifying its economy, another reason why Saudi Arabia is so “aggressive” in the world of gaming and eSports is Mohammed bin Salman. The country’s leader is an active gamer, and he has said it in many interviews. He is also a well-known Dota 2 player and was one of the biggest contributors to The International’s prize pool.

The timing

Even though eSports is rising again, things did not look good shortly after COVID-19. Since many events were canceled, a lot of the big organizations couldn’t keep up with their expenses, so they had to fire staff. Furthermore, a lot of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 leagues across all games did not receive enough funding, which led to a lot of issues.

Fortunately, it seems like those problems will not be present in the future, and Saudi Arabia is the one to “blame”. The timing was just perfect because Saudi’s funds will help those who are struggling and will push the industry forward.

Speaking of timing, it seems like the country from the Middle East also uses eSports as a form of diplomacy. In late 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the country, and a couple of weeks later, Saudi invested more than $260M in a company called VSPO.

esports gaming tournament

Despite all of the controversies around the country, we believe that Saudi’s investments in eSports and gaming as a whole are crucial. Things are changing, and judging from all of the events and improvements, it is for the better.

In the last couple of years, we saw events like the Riyadh Masters. With that said, 2024 will be even more interesting because there should be an eSports World Cup.

The competition between Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi and how eSports benefits from it

Aside from Saudi Arabia, the UAE is the second biggest player in the region, and it also has a big role in eSports. The country has invested a lot of funds into several games, such as Dota 2. In fact, the latter even decided to open an entirely new region called MENA, which includes teams from the Middle East only.

While the UAE does not have the financial or human resources of Saudi Arabia, it definitely has “traditions”. Many leading game studios worldwide have offices in Dubai or Abu Dhabi because of the country’s business environment. Ubisoft, the brand behind the likes of Assassin’s Creed, among many others, has its regional office there. The same is true for another giant in the business – Tencent.

The competition between two of the Gulf’s superpowers regarding eSports can only mean one thing – the industry will keep growing. The fact that these states have enormous financial resources means they’ll do what’s necessary to succeed. In other words, we can expect even more investments, new tournaments, and more.

Esports Is A Lot More Than Just Dota2 And Counter-strike 2 Now

leading esports tournaments pak viewers

In addition to Saudi Arabia’s investments, another reason why we believe that the golden age of eSports is here is because of the types of games. 10 years ago, there were only a few real eSports titles:

  • Dota 2
  • League of Legends
  • Call of Duty
  • Counter-Strike

While these titles continue to dominate the industry (for now), they are just some of the available titles. Nowadays, you can find a lot more titles that have events worldwide, such as:

  • Rocket League
  • Mortal Combat
  • Tekken
  • Dead or Alive
  • Street Fighter
  • World of Tanks

Fighting games have a very important role here because they have grown massively in the last few years. All 3 of the fighting games mentioned above have been around for many years, but they recently transformed into “eSports”.

Of course, we also need to mention the many different mobile games. These things are dominating some of the biggest markets, such as China and South Korea, so we can expect a lot more mobile game tournaments in the future.

Esports and its crucial role in sports betting

In addition to the billion-dollar investments and the fact that people play a lot more eSports titles than before, betting also has a role in this business. What started as a fun type of bets offered on a couple of platforms transformed into eSports, and it now has a crucial role in sports betting. That’s why we can find separate eSports categories that offer all kinds of options.

Some big bookmakers always allowed us to place bets on different titles, but most brands have many more alternatives than before. Besides adding new titles, there are way more markets than before. Furthermore, many companies also create special bonuses that are only available to people who want to wager on eSports.

Speaking of the role of betting in this business, we also need to talk about partnerships. Some of the world’s leading brands, such as 1xBet, sponsor different teams. We also have bookies that play a key role in many tournaments, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we have individual sponsorships in the near future.


The combination of billions of investments, the growing popularity of many games, and the rise of betting have a crucial role in why we believe the golden age of eSports is now. The industry did not look that good after the global pandemic, but things are very different now.

We at NB will keep informing you about everything new, so we suggest following us for more information. 2024 will have a lot of promising tournaments across multiple titles, so keep an eye on them.

Veselin Ignatov
Veselin IgnatovVeselin's primary job is to create unique content, such as reviews and analyses of different bookmakers and other topics from the iGaming industry.

No comments added yet. Be the first!