Saudi Arabia is set to host a festival of video games amid sweeping changes in the Kingdom


This edition of Riyadh Season will witness the launch of “RUSH”, a festival of video games

The popular annual Riyadh Season mega event this month will see the launch of “RUSH”, a festival of video games. This was reported by the Saudi Press Agency today (October 13).

The RUSH festival will be held from October 22 to 26 in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh.

The agency report described the festival as “the most prominent and largest in the field of video games regionally”. It is expected that the festival will attract gaming fans and aficionados in thousands.

Analysts say that the festival nails sweeping  changes in the Kingdom, which is slowly shedding its ultra-conservative image under a new generation of leaders led by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Sultan (MBS). Saudi Arabia is also home to large Indian expat population, whose remittances are major source of foreign exchange to India.

The festival will see the holding of electronic games competitions and challenges. Among them will include games such as Tekken 7, Peggy, Overwatch, FIFA 2022, Call of Duty, and others. The prizes to be disbursed during these competitions amounts to $266,598 (one million Saudi riyals).

Besides being organised offline, the games and competitions to be held in the festival will be shown on various platforms like Facebook Gaming, Twitch, and YouTube Gaming, said SPA. The agency added that there will also be live performances onstage with interactive segments.

To add colour and fun to RUSH, the festival will also host a cosplay competition, in which visitors of the festival can dress up as their favourite game characters.

The 2021 Riyadh Season will be launched on October 20, according to Turki Al al-Sheikh, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of General Authority for Entertainment. The first time the event was held was in 2019. Then it started in October and ended in January 2020.

The event became a hit for the first time itself as the inaugural festival witnessed more than 10 million venue visits. This year’s edition is expected to start this month and end in March 2022.

The Chairman had in August disclosed that Riyadh Season will be organised in an area of 5.4 million square meters with 14 different zones, each featuring a diverse array of events and experiences.

This edition will include 7,500 events, at least 200 restaurants and 70 cafes as well as 100 interactive experiences and 10 international exhibitions.