The Middle East is becoming a hotspot for gamers and major tournaments alike, and Qatar does not want to be left behind. So the country established Virtuocity, part of Qatar’s push to diversify its economy away from energy by 2030, and the result was the groundbreaking of the country’s first dedicated esports complex, completed in 2019, which hosted its first major tournament this March.
“I guess that is where it all starts,” said Ibrahim Samha, Head of Projects at Virtuocity. “When you play in these majlises (communal gathering spaces), you play in a very casual and fun way. But if you want to take it to the professional level and play competitively against other teams and other players, you would want to participate in esports events, and I guess this is where Virtuocity comes in.”
Qatar also established an esports federation in late-2021, which has helped to integrate gaming into school curriculums. The government, wealthy business-people, everyone in the country is aligned on making esports part of the country’s culture. Count Khalifa Al Haroon, businessman and influencer, as one of those people. Al Haroon believes Qatar needs to build more clubs and leagues, host more tournaments, and attract investment and studios that will create original content:
“My goal is to see Qatar be a leader in the Middle East, of course a world leader too, when it comes to gaming,” said Al Haroon. “I want to see the biggest tournaments happen here and I want people to want to come in and build their companies and their teams out of Qatar too.”
His hopes are shared by PUBG tournament organizer Jack AlBlushi, who feels that the country is getting ever closer to becoming a global esports hub
“We have built a base already,” he said. “It’s online and everything. But I need companies to realize that we people are working hard, making sure that things are going in the perfect direction.”
(All information was provided by China Daily)