GIRLGAMER Esports Festival: the World Finals shaked up Dubai

Although some people still struggle to accept this, it’s a fact that women make up a huge part of esports and gaming audiences. Despite this, there isn’t a lot of outright support or dedicated events for them – why, some esports events outright ban women from participating as recently as last year.

Esports struggles with equality, still – after three years of OWL, there is still only one female gamer in the league, and Overwatch isn’t the only game for which that’s a problem. As a matter of fact, it was only last year that a woman managed to win a Hearthstone GrandMasters event, or a Blizzcon one. 2019 has certainly been a pretty good year for trailblazing women in esports… and 2020 is off to a great start.

GIRLGAMER Esports Festival Dubai


The GIRLGAMER Esports Festival

The end of February saw a 4-day esports festival specifically dedicated to women in Dubai of all places. It took place at the Meydan Grandstand between February 19th and the 23rd of the month. The event featured all sorts of events – among them, the GIRLGAMER World Finals as well as the first-ever FIFA Interschool esports tournament in the region.

Organised primarily by Galaxy Racer esports and Dubai 10X media, the event was condoned and supported by the Government of Dubai Media Office. For them, the event is part of a larger effort to establish Dubai as a central hub for esports events in the region.

The Guests

In addition to the events themselves, the GIRLGAMER festival also featured a host of special guests. These included:

  • Naruse Chisato, Illustrator
  • Des Taylor, Comic Book Illustrator
  • Kari Wahlgren, Voice Actress
  • Shimadoriru, Illustrator

Several cosplayers also helped host the cosplaying competition that took place there. It featured a prize pool of $5000, and was judged by well-known names in the cosplay world:

  • Alodia Gosiengfiao, famous Filipina cosplayer, model and actress
  • Saud Al Hazzani a.k.a. Vega Cosplay, local cosplay pioneer
  • Sumi Cosplay, Middle Eastern professional cosplayer

Music guests and hosts included:

  • Kris Fade
  • Priti Malik
  • Big Rossi
  • Brent Black
  • Gucci Mane
  • Danny Neville

It made for a fantastic line-up at the event. In fact, some of them even participated – Gucci Mane tried his hand at a Mortal Kombat competition against TV presenter Ahmed Al Nasheet.

The Highlights

There were some fantastic moments at the event, both for the hosts and guests alike. Everyone spoke favourably of the event – including Lamia Khan, the Director of the Dubai Ladies Club:

“Girl gamers, who participated in the festival, have created an example for girls and women by dreaming big. With their determination, they have inspired young people to believe in themselves and the idea that they can pursue their goals. They have also countered the myth that competitive events like esports are reserved for boys and men.”

Paul Roy, the CEO of Galaxy Racer Esports said:

“We are very proud to have brought the GIRLGAMER Esports Festival to Dubai for the first time. In doing so, we are confident we have made massive progress in promoting women’s competitiveness in esports across the Middle East, while also showcasing Dubai as a global hub for world-class events.”