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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s EGZ was crowned champions in the main competition as American R&B star Jason Derulo ended the three-day Nexus gaming festival with a spectacular performance in Riyadh on Saturday.
The festival, an initiative of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA), was the first to be staged by Riot Games in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as part of its strategy to promote electronic sports in the region.
Hundreds of people gathered at Riyadh Boulevard to witness the finals of the six competitions based on the League of Legends, and to enjoy a variety of activities and attractions.
EGZ won $400,000 as part of the total $2 million prize fund after defeating Nasr Esports in the main 5v5 Summoners Rift competition.
Coach Paul Ouani said that the festival was a great learning experience for his team and he hopes Riot Games can build on this success.
“Having the Nexus festival here is a great decision. There is enormous potential in e-sports, especially in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. With many people watching online and live at venues, it will only get bigger,” he said
Other winners included Bassel (5v5 influencer final) and Abdulrahman Toxichill Bahmaid (1v1 champion).
As well as promoting gaming, the three-day festival also featured a music concert by US line-ups Mako and the Crystal Method, and a variety of entertainment.
Onur Tamer, METAI general manager of Riot Games, said: “As the first event on this scale for the region, it was a fantastic effort by the whole team. We have delivered something that the community has been expecting for a long time and it was great to see strong turnout during the three days.
“Attracting people of different ages is crucial in this region and we wanted to focus on three pillars — the gaming tournament, the festival area where the players would interact, and the musical experiences. We delivered that and everything was great, especially the cosplay, where a lot of people were interested.
“It is not just about gaming but going beyond that and opening League of Legends and e-sports to all people in this region,” he said.
“This event has shown that a lot of people have embraced the opportunity of visiting and learning more about League of Legends.”
Tamer said that future plans include an Arabic version of League of Legends.
“People want us to create a specific Arabic character, but it really depends on the creativity and bringing everything together to make it happen,” he said.
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