Qiddiya Quest: Saudi Arabia's Esports Oasis

Qiddiya Gaming and Esports District
Qiddiya Gaming and Esports DistrictImage Source: Populus


Saudi Arabia unveils an ambitious plan to create the world's first gaming and esports district in Qiddiya City, Riyadh's upcoming venture. The Qiddiya Gaming and Esports District will boast four stadiums, including the Qiddiya City Esports Arena, designed by Populous, featuring cutting-edge technology such as a "digital chandelier" and 4D haptic seats. This 500,000-sq-m district aims to host 25 esports clubs, 30 video game companies, and attract 10 million visitors annually, reflecting the Kingdom's keen interest in esports, with a projected 250% growth in the gaming market over the next eight years.


In a groundbreaking initiative, Saudi Arabia is set to revolutionize the global esports landscape with the announcement of the Qiddiya Gaming and Esports District, a visionary project located on the outskirts of Riyadh within the expansive Qiddiya City. This ambitious endeavor is slated to become the world's premier gaming and esports destination, featuring cutting-edge facilities and a commitment to redefining the spectator experience.

At the heart of this esports oasis lies the Qiddiya City Esports Arena, a marvel designed by the renowned architectural firm Populous. With a capacity of 5,155 seats, this arena is poised to offer unparalleled sightlines and views for audiences. The integration of a "digital chandelier" within the seating bowl adds a unique visual dimension, enhancing spectators' engagement with matches.

What sets the Qiddiya City Esports Arena apart is its technological prowess, featuring the largest combined video screen area of any esports arena globally. The inclusion of 4D haptic seats takes the immersive experience to new heights, allowing fans not only to see and hear the action but also to feel and even smell it.

Spanning an expansive 500,000 square meters, the esports district is envisioned to become the nucleus of esports culture in the region. It plans to accommodate up to 25 esports clubs and 30 video game companies, fostering innovation and collaboration within the gaming industry. Beyond the gaming realm, the district will feature 100,000 square meters of retail, dining, and entertainment venues, creating a vibrant ecosystem.

The overarching goal is to position Qiddiya City as a global esports hub, anticipating up to 10 million visitors annually. This strategic move aligns with the evolving interests of the Saudi Arabian populace, with a Populous and YouGov research in 2022 revealing that 29% of Saudis express interest in esports. Projections indicate a staggering 250% growth in the Kingdom's gaming market over the next eight years.

Populous, the architectural visionary behind the Qiddiya City Esports Arena, has been at the forefront of shaping esports venues worldwide. Their portfolio includes designs for arenas in Toronto, Shanghai, and Philadelphia, reflecting a commitment to creating cutting-edge spaces that elevate the esports experience.

Qiddiya City's esports foray is part of a broader vision announced in 2017, with notable developments, including Bouygues securing a $1 billion contract in 2021 to construct a Six Flags theme park in the district, with Atkins serving as a consultant.


Saudi Arabia's unveiling of the Qiddiya Gaming and Esports District marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of esports, positioning the Kingdom at the forefront of this dynamic industry. The Qiddiya City Esports Arena, a testament to architectural ingenuity, promises an unparalleled spectator experience with its innovative features. As the esports district takes shape, it is poised to not only cater to the burgeoning interests of the local population but also emerge as a global magnet, drawing millions of visitors annually. The strategic foresight behind this initiative underscores Saudi Arabia's commitment to shaping the future of esports and entertainment on a grand scale.

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