Gamers8 triples down on esports with $45M prize pool festival

Gamers8 is set to return this summer July 6th 2023, with a grand event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Gamers8 / Gamers Without Borders duo is pledging a whopping $45,000,000 in prize money, making it one of the biggest prize funds of the season. All of this in a year where “esports recession” is a keyword and the industry as a whole is taking a more conservative approach.

If there is one year a Saudi backed events shouldn’t get bad press, it’s this one.

Gamers8 triples down on esports in 2023

Last year’s event featured $15M in prize funds for the main event (Gamers8), and another $10M for the charity qualifiers under the Gamers Without Borders (GWB) banner. This year the organizers decided to triple that amount for the main event, on top of an expected $10M at least from the Gamers Without Borders charity event.

While the event kicked-off quietly last year, this year the organizers made a splash announcement, and got the attention of premier esports teams right out the gate. We can of course expect some  MiSK / MCIT bashing in the following weeks, as is tradition every time a Saudi Arabian backed event takes place. This event, as well as the NEOM partnerships  and the Riyadh Masters got their fair share of bad press last year, despite organizing flawless festivals.

Hopefully this year will be different.

Gamers8 Promo Poster

Source: @Gamers8GG

We are not yet sure which games will be featured at the main event nor the charity tournaments, but taken form the “promo art”, we can definitely expect Fortnite and Rocket League, and potentially Dota 2 and CS:GO.

Last year’s Fornite event went to Ep1kwhale and malibuca, in a tournament that kept a good portion of the pro scene active and still playing because of it. Meanwhile, Rocket League had its own event where FURIA was unstoppable, earning $500K in prize money. The adjacent Riyadh Masters featured some of the biggest Dota 2 names in the scene, and $4,000,000 USD in prize funds. PSG.LGD beat out Team Spirit and OG to claim the grand prize.

Gamers Without Borders Charity Events

GWB is an adjacent series to the main event, that serves as qualifier and a way to donate to charity at the same time. If we have the some format as last year, several regional events will serve as qualifiers for Gamers8, and the winners of the qualifiers will get to choose a charity to donate their winnings to, before competing for a prize fund at the main event.

Last year’s European Qualifier in Rocket League saw $750K pledged for charity, and the same amount was coughed over in North America as well.

If we see a similar trend in increased funding this year, then GWB will become the biggest charity esports donator globally by a massive margin. Thus far, we are only left with teasers.