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RIYADH: A new creativity program from the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) has taken the Gamers8 festival by storm in Riyadh.

The center’s latest initiative is a leading initiative in the creation of innovative and interactive content: the Creative Solutions program.

Creative Solutions is an annual program based in the Kingdom that provides a platform for creatives to participate in an emerging industry saturated with immersive and innovative technologies, creating a collective learning ecosystem. It was launched in 2021 to enrich economic growth and provide a platform for innovators to pursue their creative ideas, from an idea to a working prototype.

Ithra’s collaboration with Gamers8 brings an educational approach to the esports industry, emphasizing its design and technology aspects, while developing a more balanced approach in the creative esports and gaming industry. games.

Ithra’s initiative was introduced in collaboration with the Saudi Electronic Sports Federation (SEF) with the aim of creating a market for consumers and developers. It will also create greater local employment opportunities. Instead of outsourcing, Saudi esports companies will be able to produce and consume locally.

“We consider this sector as important as other sectors,” Miznah Al-Zamil, head of Ithra’s Creativity and Innovation department, told Arab News.

“Gamers8 is the first and biggest event in this industry, to be precise, and we wanted to be attendees as a beacon of knowledge and the role we have in the cultural and creative industry,” Al-Zamil added.

Ithra’s collaboration with Gamers8 includes an exhibition showcasing the five winning innovative projects from last year’s Creative Solutions cohort, all of which fall under extended reality (XR) in relation to arts, culture and education. The exhibition will run alongside the festival until September 8.

“I was really surprised when I learned that the gaming and esports consumer market, Arabia, is in the top five globally. It’s mind-blowing,” said Filipe Gomes, Creative Program Manager Solutions, to Arab News “The question was how to connect our value and showcase it – not just what we can do locally from a consumer perspective, but also from a production perspective.”

The first round of the program brought in 60 creatives, selected from approximately 2,000 applicants, who completed 12 masterclass sessions in a range of topics, including narrative storytelling, 3D production, virtual reality headsets, augmented reality and others.

The program is currently in its second round, and ideas from 15 shortlisted creatives will be showcased at Gamers8 on August 21, allowing participants to pitch their ideas to Creative Solutions partners, vendors, media and other stakeholders.

“What is obvious to everyone is that gamers, if you like technology, usually have to do a lot with esports. But on the contrary, it has a lot to do with design, it has a lot to do with the There are a lot of things that go into development. That’s where Ithra comes in and technically contributes to a growing industry,” Al Zamil said.

Three years ago, the XR market was valued at $27 billion and is expected to reach $300 billion by 2024.

“It’s a global phenomenon, and it’s a huge opportunity,” Gomes said. “The program is a door for Saudi Arabia to the world and the world to Saudi Arabia. We work with partners around the world, so why not bring some of the key gaming and VR content to Gamers8 through those connections.

Additionally, an XR-focused panel discussion will take place, joined by leading experts and scholars in the field, including SEF Chief Faisal Bin Bandar and Dean of E-Learning and distance education at Tabuk University, Ali Alshammari, gathered to shed light on the data around the subject and the future of the field.

“The Saudi XR ecosystem is growing. There is huge potential in the world, to be honest, and Saudi Arabia needs to have its mark,” Al-Zamil said.


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Henry R. Wright