GN DUBAI - The world’s largest girl gaming festival will be held in Dubai this year, with more than 20 million people expected to watch the live stream globally.

The world finals of the ‘GirlGamerEsports Festival’ will include prize pools of more than $100,000 and 45 players from nine teams.

The event will be in held from December 12 to December 14 at an upcoming gaming facility in Meydan One, which is being dubbed the “largest gaming arena in the region”.

The women will compete in two different games, CounterStrike Go and League of Legends. “This won’t only boost the e-gaming industry in the region but will also bolster the tourism industry and push for gender balance in gaming,” Fernando Pereira, global organiser of the GirlGamerEsports Festival, told a local newspaper.  “What we want to push for is gender balance. There are a lot of studies showing that if girls start to take an interest in video games from an early age, they are 30 per cent more likely to follow science studies, meaning engineering, mathematics, which are professions that still have more men than women.”

In the UAE, several esports organisations have emerged in the past few years. However, there has never been a local platform that allows e-gamers to take on the profession full-time. Most gamers who want to pursue it as a career move abroad.

Growing industry

Overall, the industry has been picking up rapidly. A regional partner of this upcoming event, Galaxy Racer Esports, is an organisation that aims to provide that platform to local talent so they can pursue their career from here.

Paul Roy, CEO of Galaxy Racer, said their firm has invested in building the region’s largest gaming facility in Meydan One.

“We have several elements, including event organisations - such as the GirlGamer Festival - and creating local teams that play internationally,” he said.

“There has been a lot of grassroot movements in esports in the region. But if you look at the top players who have made it, they’ve done it on their own.