The Game Development Club at Alfaisal University represented the university in the Gamers 8 Debate League Competition, a Kingdom-wide competition across universities in Saudi Arabia which was held as part of the Gamers 8 season in Riyadh. The Gamers 8 season is an esports event in the Saudi capital which was held from Thursday July 14, 2022 to Thursday September 8, 2022 at a specially built venue at Boulevard Riyadh City. The Gamers 8 is one of the world’s biggest gaming events which was orchestrated to be the ultimate destination for gamers, esports enthusiasts and families, Gamers 8 Riyadh is a competitive tournament between local and international teams that also has plenty of entertainment for the public and a GameDev zone for game designers and developers from across institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Gamers Debate League refers to a series of debates held between competing teams, in the style of a sporting league. The debate begins with the two participating teams debating their opposing arguments in the context of game design and development and the issues pertaining to the gaming industry, one team in favour of the motion and the other against, adhering to certain time and style constraints. The judging panel was formed of members nominated and selected by the Saudi eSports Federation, with external experts on the topics of gaming and game development. Alfaisal University’s team consisted of three members, Abdullah Adam, Munirah Alzoman and Mohammed Jaamour. Abdullah Rashid Adam is an Electrical Engineering student and co-founder of the UpDown Game Studio, a student-owned startup incubated in the university’s business accelerator. Munirah Alzouman and Mohammed Jaamour are both software engineering students and members of the Game Development Club at Alfaisal University.
From the creators of Gamers Without Borders, Gamers 8 was on a mission to “blur the lines between what’s physical and what’s virtual” by bringing the virtual gaming and esports world into the physical world. The Gamers 8 programs were meant to be an opportunity for gaming enthusiasts to enhance their knowledge and skills. The GameDev programme in 2022 included the Creative Solutions Exhibition in which one of Alfaisal University’s VR games was showcased, as well as the Himma BootCamp, Java Programming Minecraft workshops, ThinkTech Talk, Game Development with Roblox, Game Design & Mechanics with Fortnite Creative & Unreal Engine, Gameathon, and the Gaming Debate League which was held in July 2022.
Debating and speaking skills are, of course, fundamental for many professionals, and the ability for students to make their point and discuss issues is a requirement for all careers. In the gaming and game development contexts, the ability to communicate effectively will help students who are considering careers in the game industry. The Chair of the Software Engineering Department at Alfaisal University, Dr. Areej Al-Wabil highlighted the value added of these participations for students, “The Gamers Debate League is an intellectual competition between teams from universities in Saudi Arabia on a current affairs topic within the game industry, with a view to enhancing cultural and social debate and students’ public speaking skills. Our students’ participation in these extracurricular activities is well aligned with initiatives that emerged from the National Gaming and Esports Strategy and the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives, which aim to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, create new job opportunities in different industries and contribute towards providing world-class entertainment to residents and visitors in the Kingdom.” As noted by HRH the Crown Prince, “The National Gaming and Esports Strategy is driven by the creativity and energy of our citizens and gamers, who are at the heart of the strategy”.
The gaming and esports sector in Saudi Arabia is considered the fastest growing among all media sectors, and is expected to reach $200 billion by 2023 as noted in recent statistics published by the Saudi Esport Federation. More about the Gamers Debate League can be viewed online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMmsmI-dsfI and the game development club’s website is accessible via https://www.linkedin.com/company/game-development-club