DUBAI, 26th November, 2021 (WAM) -- Online gaming has played an integral role in forging human connections and building communities across the globe amid the unprecedented isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the participants of the Esports Conference that took place today in Dubai.
Hosted by the the Global Esports Federation (GEF), the event was part of the GMIS Week that runs from 22 to 27 November at Expo 2020's Dubai Exhibition Centre. A panel discussion entitled 'Metaverse: A real world and virtual new #worldconnected' brought together officials from the GEF and its local member body, the Emirates Esports Association, who unanimously agreed that the GCC region, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, holds a prominent place at the forefront of the future of esports.
Dr. Khizer Kaderi, Member of the GEF Health & Wellness Commission, defined the metaverse as a confluence of physical and digital worlds. He said: "Rather than focusing on platforms, it's more user- and community-centred."
Speaking about the evolution of esports in the GCC region, he added: "I've been to this region for over a decade, and I've just seen it grow. I've seen how rapidly it's moved, especially in the last five years."
Michele Attisani, Co-founder and CBO of the leading esports platform FACEIT, GEF's Strategic Partner for Esports Services, said: "The metaverse is digital persons connecting with the physical world. The desire for community in this space is part of human beings. We've seen a great acceleration of this process during the pandemic. This sense of community became stronger than ever. We see a new way to build communities not just in terms of social interactions but the underlying foundations of exchange. This is a fascinating phenomenon."
Echoing Dr. Khaderi's view of the importance of the GCC region for the future of esports, he added: "The leaders understand where the world is going. This region will be the centre of the development and growth of esports and its communities, and it can play a critical role in this world."
For his part, Abdulla Al Gurg, Head of the Advisory Office of the Emirates Esports Association, said: "This is just the top of the iceberg. There is a lot of untapped potential through technology that exists currently. It's about being creative and bringing people together. The biggest challenge is embracing that change and creating platforms that accelerate that change."
Adrian F. Lismore, GEF Board Member and Chair of the Federation's Finance, Legal, Administration Commission, said: "The UAE and Saudi Arabia are forward-thinking. This region happens to have an opportunity to lead in this broad thinking from a country perspective. It's much more difficult to do that elsewhere."
Hala Ghandour, GEF Board Member and Member of the Federation's Education, Culture, Youth Commission, said: "It's hard to imagine this nation is 50 years old. Whether it's the infrastructure or architecture, I don't know."
Koen Schobbers, GEF Board Member and Vice Chair of the Federation's Athletes, Players, Community Commission, said: "Many governments are discussing, whereas the UAE is just taking action. The mindset of taking action - that's the true power of the region here. That makes the region very strong and very esports-suited."
Participants can join #GMIS2021 live and access the full programme agenda at the following link: https://gmisummit.com/