Next World Forum


Next World Forum

Saudi Arabia’s Next World Forum Goes Live at Riyadh Featuring Gareth Bale and Michael Bay

Abhimannu Das
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Day one of the Next World Forum kicked off with panel sessions that discussed the competitive gaming scene, the impact of celebrities in gaming, and gaming’s role in shaping the economy.
Former soccer star Gareth Bale, esports investor and enthusiast, reveals he believes that esports athletes could become more popular with the public and sponsors than soccer stars.

Next World Forum, a major global industry gathering created to shape the future of the rapidly evolving gaming and esports sector, began the opening day of its second edition on 30th August at Riyadh. High-profile guests from the worlds of gaming, entertainment, technology, sports, and government-led discussions and deep analysis of an industry with a global worth of around $170 billion USD, which is more than Hollywood and the music industry combined. Asking the tough questions of the gaming and esports industry, the two-day Next World Forum, which concludes on Thursday, is being held at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center.

Next World Forum Day One Featured Celebrity Panel Discussions

HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, Chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation said at the event, “The esports industry is one that changes on a daily basis, let alone a monthly or yearly basis. People always ask, ‘what’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ – but never ask ‘what’s going to stay the same over the next 10 years?’ And that might be the more important of the two. For us, that constant is the community and the gamers. If we can keep focus on the fact that everything we’re doing is for our community then we set ourselves up to be in the best position for what’s coming up next.” 

Gareth Bale, a five-time UEFA Champions League winner, said the growth of esports made it possible that in the future esports athletes would be more popular with members of the public and sponsors than footballers. 

Day Two of the event will feature panels for the following topics: 

  • Virtual Realities, Real World Consequences: The Impact of Politics in Gaming

  • Breaking The Code: The Challenges For Women In Gaming Leadership

  • The Next Level: A New Chapter for the Saudi Esports Federation

  • Press The Pause Button: Analyzing Esports Players’ Mental And Physical Health

Next World Forum additionally concludes Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, the biggest gaming and esports festival worldwide, which began on6th July at Boulevard Riyadh City featuring 16 elite tournaments from 13 top titles. The eight-week-long entertainment event featured more than 30 live concert performances from global, regional, and local stars, and thousands of activities and attractions. 

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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.

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