DUBAI, 21st November, 2022 (WAM) — Dubai yesterday marked the conclusion of the inaugural Dubai Esports Festival (DEF) 2022, which took place at the Dubai Exhibition Centre in Dubai Expo City between 9th and 20th November.
Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, DEF 2022 was hosted by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) in partnership with VSPN, a global leader in E-sports activities and solutions, and presenting partner, du.
The 12-day Festival’s concluding day featured the championship round of the inaugural PUBG Global Championship 2022 Grand Finals, which saw Team Natus Vincere crowned winners and Team 17 emerging runners-up. The PUBG Global Championship 2022 kicked off on 1st November and saw 32 teams from across four regions compete for a share of more than US$2 million.
Reinforcing Dubai’s position as a hub for technology, innovation, events and tourism, the Festival brought together leading gamers, E-sports thought leaders and pop culture enthusiasts from across the world.
An exciting line-up of live events, concerts and pop culture activities over the 12 days welcomed E-sports enthusiasts and industry professionals. The Festival’s most popular attractions were the highly anticipated PUBG Global Championship 2022, Initiate Summit, GameExpo, PopConME, Wegz live in concert, regional tournaments and Minecraft Esports Schools Clash.
DEF 2022 kicked off with the two-day Initiate Summit, a groundbreaking B2B learning and networking platform for E-sports and gaming industry professionals, developers and creatives. The Summit was held in collaboration with Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and Dubai Media City, a member of TECOM Group, the event’s Knowledge Partner. The oversubscribed first edition of the Summit welcomed over a thousand participants and more than 60 industry and E-sports thought leaders, showcasing Dubai’s appetite for growth in the E-sports sector.
Organised in collaboration with DWTC and Alanza Trading, GameExpo and PopConME kicked off on the second day as two of the Festival’s key attractions. GameExpo and PopConME featured some of the biggest Hollywood celebrities, including Kit Harington (Jon Snow, Game of Thrones), Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Thor) and Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen, Green Arrow), among others. Also hosted during the events were special meet-and-greet sessions, exclusive workshops, movie screenings, international artists and creators, artist alley, cosplay competition offering a prize of Dh75,000 to the winner, gaming competitions and E-sports tournaments.
During the four-day GameExpo, three grassroots E-sports tournaments took place in collaboration with global gaming titles, including Minecraft and Honor of Kings, as regional E-sports competitors and youth gamers took to the stage to show off their skills and win prizes worth up to US$25,000. These included Minecraft Esports Schools Clash, which saw the participation of over 600 students from 12 Dubai schools; Gamers HUB ME Regional Online Tournament, with nearly 1,800 players competing for a prize pool of Dh22,000 across a range of popular game titles, such as Fortnite, Brawl Stars, FIFA23, Valorant and Rocket League across multiple platforms; and Honor of Kings Regional Mobile Tournament supported by the game’s publisher, Tencent, as the first LAN tournament in Dubai with a prize pool of US$25,000.
Rounding off the inaugural Festival, popular Egyptian artist Wegz performed live in concert on 19th November in an electrifying musical showcase. Known for creating trap music since 2017 and rising to fame at 19, the Alexandrian rap artist put on an exciting show for fans and gaming enthusiasts to celebrate the conclusion of the successful inaugural DEF 2022.
DEF 2022 catered to gamers, families, friends, art and music lovers, industry professionals, and E-sports experts as part of its first edition. The Festival aims to unite and develop the gaming and E-sports communities in Dubai and the region. Alongside the Festival, these communities drive awareness and understanding of the value of video games and encourage the next generation to consider E-sports and gaming as a profession.