Global design firm Populous has partnered with Saudi Arabia’s National Gaming and Esports Strategy to create plans for a massive esports district in Riyadh.
Qiddiya Gaming and Esports District, the world’s first mixed-use gaming and esports district, will attract gamers to an area dedicated to esports, entertainment, sports and culture.
“We are proud to have been able to combine our extensive knowledge of esports facilities and technology with Qiddiya’s vision to create a world-leading arena for competitors and fans alike,” said Rhys Courtney, a senior principal at Populous EMEA. “This arena will be unique in esports in both scale and user experience.”
Within the district, the Qiddiya City Esports Arena will be the main attraction. It will feature the largest combined total video screen area of any esports arena in the world, as well as 4D haptic seats. The 5,155-seat venue will provide optimized seating in the main auditorium for the best views and a parametric design to refine screen locations, resulting in a “digital chandelier” placed centrally within the seating bowl.
The arena will include two concourses wrapping around the seating bowl, a centralized arcade with breakout zones for gaming, retail and an entertainment zone. Premium hospitality space will comprise 20% of the arena.
“The Qiddiya City Esport Arena is a state-of-the-art esports venue that will serve as a centerpiece for this incredible global gaming hub and will be a complete representation of Qiddiya’s ‘Play Life’ ethos,” said Shireen Hamdan, senior principal and general manager of Populous KSA.
The National Gaming and Esports Strategy and Saudi Vision 2030 is aiming to make Saudi Arabia a global hub for gaming and esports and attract up to 10 million visitors by 2030. Research conducted by Populous and YouGov in 2022 revealed that as much as 29% of the Saudi Arabia national population is interested in esports.