After football, Qatar awaits a wave of esports

Doha: After hosting the World Cup football at the end of questyear, Qatar is trying to develop the sector in strong expansion of esports, in so that the Gulf state remains a major player in sport. Doha established an esports complex in 2019 under the name “VirtueCity”. After being suspended during the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, the complex hosted its first major tournament in March and the round inaugural of “Smash World Tour”, an international championship for fighting “Super Smash Bros.”, from which the winner came out with an amount of QR 5,000 (1300 euros). An esports federation was established in late 2021 and the system was integrated into the London International School curriculum as a way to develop specific skills in students. But the challenge lies in attracting the Qatari players from their homes, or rather from their “majlis”. The “majlis” is like a large diwaniya which is usually adjacent to the house, where men meet and are centers of social networking in Qatar. “Our boards are very well equipped, with (sometimes) six console friends can play at the same time, “says Ibrahim Samha, head of eSports projects at VirtueCity.” We play it for fun, “he says. But if we want to climb in top, you have to participate in tournaments and then here you enter in game”. A “serious matter” Ahmed Al-Moghaisib, 24, proposed the game in 2017 to represent Qatar in the most popular electronic soccer game “FIFA”, taking his country’s national team to tenth place in the world in May 2021. This a young man tells AFP that “At first there wasn’t much interest in what I was doing (…) but things are getting better. People understand that eSports are serious business and an industry that can be a source of income for the country. “Khalifa Al-Haroun, also known as” Mr. Q “, was one of the earliest supporters of esports in the gas-rich country looking to diversify their economy by 2030. Al-Haroun, an influencer and owner of an electronic game store, sponsors content creators and tournaments, and wants “Qatar’s pioneering vision in video games in Middle East and the world. He says his plan is “to make people understand that it’s not just a game. Launch more local tournaments, encourage studies to settle down.” in Qatar to create original content, collaborate with agencies to take advantage of major international tournaments and show our companies that they need to invest. “He identifies with Jack Al Balushi, a 35-year-old Pakistani born in Qatar. The young man, who organizes tournaments in the popular game “PUBG” on smartphones, says: “The base exists, we have already built it, (…) but we need the support of companies to go in the right direction”. “A very strong push” Ooredoo, one of the mobile operators in Qatar, was convinced of the project and sponsored the FIFA video game tournament in late May with a sum of $ 25,000, and launched a talent discovery program to form a team of professionals. Between prime recruits were Al-Moghasib in “FIFA” and Youssef Al-Difa ‘ in “Fortnite”. Aaron asks: “Are we far from our goal? A year ago, there was practically nothing. Qatar does not stop, it advances at 100 per hour “. For the Mexican player Chag, who in March won the first stage of the Smash World Tour in Virtue City and was among the top 5 countries in the world,” the scene of Qatar can grow a lot, and it’s a good basis for the world to look to Qatar. “In this context, the sociologist in the field of e-sports, Nicholas Bezombis, confirms to AFP that there is a” very strong impulse from Qatar and Saudi Arabia , Speaking of “a fairly recent phenomenon that began shortly before the outbreak of the pandemic.” “It is (soft power) in the crude case, as they did with sports to improve their image and attractiveness “, he says, noting that” the Middle East is also a world that esports are trying to attract, that is looking for investors where there is money “. (AFP)