Anita Joseph speaks to Paul Roy, CEO of Galaxy Racers Esports, the first major professional esports organisation in the region about the first girl gaming festival to be held in Dubai later this year, the gaming scenario in the Middle East, and how women gamers in the region have the skill and the motivation to take their game to much higher levels.
Girl gaming is all set to redefine Dubai’s gaming landscape in a major way. For the first time this year, the finals of the Girl Gamer Esports Festival will be held in Dubai at Meydan One from December 12-14 at the Meydan Grandstand. The event will be the culmination of a global year-long six-stage series, with the view to increase stages to nine events next year. Nine teams comprising five players totaling 45 participants, will compete at the finals. Of those nine teams one will be local, to give fillip to local female gamers.
“Prize money for the event will be announced later but it will be the largest ever for a women’s gaming tournament,” he said.
Roy added that women gamers comprised a sizeable chunk of the gaming population in the Middle East and that there were some very skilled women gamers in the region. “We also realized that while the passion and enthusiasm for gaming is high, there is a lack of infrastructure and vision in representing the female voice in the country, and so we decided that the time was right for an event of this magnitude in Dubai.”
Girl gaming is the fastest growing sector in the gaming industry today, and from what we see, the talent is enormous. However, we realized that girl gamers in the region have to travel to other parts of the world to make their voice heard. So we have decided to focus our energies on creating a world-class Gulf team, with unparalleled skills and expertise.
Roy also said that Esports is growing about 34 per cent a year, its viewership is more than the NFL and Esports teams are selling for about US$40 million, which would buy a second tier football team in England. The industry is only five years old but it’s already bigger than the sports industry, last year the sports industry made US$93 billion, gaming made US$140 billion and the film industry made US$30-40 billion.
“So you see how an event such as this ticks all the right boxes. We would also like women gamers in the region to consider this as an opportunity to understand more about careers related to gaming, such as game development and so on. Also, there has always been a gender disparity when it comes to women in gaming. This is a sector that has been dominated by men, and so women find it difficult to make their mark. By organizing the Girl Gamer Festival, we would like to urge women to tap into their competitive spirit and create an ecosystem were men and women are equally represented,” Roy added.
Last year, gaming revenues in the UAE were estimated to have reached Dh1.2 billion, he said.