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Dubai is tapping into a $100 billion industry. You’ll never guess what it is

Dubai Media Office and free zone operator TECOM Group have announced plans for the Middle East’s first E-Sports stadium.

The facility, part of the government’s 10X initiative, is intended to position Dubai as a global hub for hosting video gaming events.

This stadium is an effort for the nation to get in on the ever-growing e-sports industry and to help bolster tourism.

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Gaming’s evolution

Video games have come a long way since they first appeared in 1960, disappeared in 1982 and were again resurrected by Nintendo in 1983.

Popular titles include team-based shooter Overwatch and battle arena games DOTA 2 and League of Legends.

The word E-Sports or Electronic-Sport is nothing new, but it became very popular in 2011.

Valve, a game developer, hosted an E-Sports for DOTA 2 that had a prize pool of 1.6 million dollars and 1 million dollars for the 5-man-team that won first place.

But the last International event had a prize pool of about $24 million and the 5-man-team won $10 million

So, Dubai wants to jump on that opportunity and build a stadium for the E-Sports event

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Costly but good ROI

The cost of the stadium was not revealed but Dubai Media Office said it was intended to tap into the $100 billion global video game industry and a growing E-Sport scene expected to be worth $1.5bn by 2020.

“We are living in a world where digital culture is reshaping all aspects of life, including sports. This has led us to develop the concept of Dubai X-Stadium, which will consolidate Dubai’s status as a key digital economy hub,” said Mona Ghanem Al Marri, director general of Dubai Media Office.

“The idea aims at attracting millions of E-Sports gamers, spectators, and enthusiasts from around the world and offering them unique online and in-person experiences.”

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E-Sport fans

The growing popularity of online games and the ability for gamers to easily live to stream their performances over the internet has helped the previously niche E-Sports scene to enter the mainstream.

The 10X initiative to position Dubai’s government departments 10 years ahead of their global peers has seen the unveiling of projects including plans to use rubbish for concrete and remove police officers from the streets.

Dubai Media Office and TECOM Group have announced the Dubai X-Stadium – the first E-Sports – dedicated venue in the Middle East.

The two companies hope that the stadium will establish Dubai as a regional and global hub for hosting video game events.

E-Sports Insider says: “The Middle East has somewhat lagged behind E-Sports initiatives to date, but if things are done properly, then this could serve as a hub for the region as a whole.”