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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — COVID-19 esports fundraiser Gamers Without Borders has broken new ground for gaming after uniting 120,000 gamers online from 72 countries in just four weeks.
The unprecedented esports initiative, organized by the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), has seen $6.5million out of its $10million charity prize fund already donated to global charities tackling COVID-19.
It has also brought together the world’s biggest gaming titles, best players and 54 elite teams for a series of consecutive tournaments. Gamers Without Borders has become the biggest esports event exhibition series to date in terms of charity donations, players and game titles.
Alongside ESL, the world’s largest esports company and technical partner, Gamers Without Borders has attracted 42m social media video views with an innovative virtual broadcast feed across seven languages bringing all the action.
Gamers Without Borders has united players from a range of countries across the globe. These countries include the likes of Somalia, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Panama, France, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan.
Prince Faisal bin Bandar Bin Sultan, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), said: “It’s inspiring to see Gamers Without Borders and Saudi Arabia connect the global gaming community and help respond to COVID-19 through supporting these international charities.”
“To have brought together such a huge number of global gamers to watch, game, donate and learn in just four weeks really shows the power that e-sports possesses. Gaming has proved it transcends all borders — and there’s more to come in the next few weeks.”
The SAFEIS organized tournaments are operating on two levels: an amateur community battleground for gaming fans and at an international elite level, where the very best players on the globe are going head-to-head for the cause.
The community tournaments have seen 120,000 players from 72 countries play over 20,000 matches for 4,000 hours on games including Call of Duty, Fortnite and Rainbow Six: Siege. Those tournaments have comprised more than 150 marathon and Games of The Week sessions, from which there have been 900 winners from 21 different countries, all together winning prizes worth around $250,000.
At GWB’s International Elite level — where 54 teams and 53 duos across 42 nationalities have gone head-to-head — a live global streaming audience of more than five million have watched hours of thrilling action as players and franchises have battled it out to win a share of $10million for their chosen COVID-19 charities. The series has included major esports titles to date.
Halfway through and $6.5million of the event’s mammoth prize fund has already been won — all of which has been handed over to non-profit organizations, ranging from UNICEF, the International Medical Corps (IMC), International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance to the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), Direct Relief and Norwegian Refugee Council.
That money is being funneled directly to projects helping fight the global spread of COVID-19, including awareness programs, support for children and young people, and life-saving medical supplies.
As well as its playing and watching platforms, Gamers Without Borders has also been running a free and unrivalled series of learning initiatives aimed at inspiring the next generation of game designers.
The four joint initiatives that form GWB’s Academy have been organized in collaboration with MCIT, the Saudi Digital Academy, KSA Digital Game and OCEANX, and have so far provided more than 100 hours of training from 160 digital experts to an incredible 20,000 knowledge hungry young people from 40 different countries.
With so much action and learning still to come, there has never been a better time to get involved in Gamers Without Borders. Gamers of all abilities can register to play as part of the event by visiting www.gamerswithoutborders.com, where streaming information for all the event’s live International Elite action can be found too.
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