Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud has predicted a "new era" for esports will follow the Next World Forum ©Getty Images

Saudi Arabia is to hold a Next World Forum which Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, President of the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF), claims will spark "a new era" of esports growth.

The event, which will bring together a host of speakers from across the gaming and esports industries, is due to take place on September 7 and 8, which are the final two days of the Gamers8 festival.

Sport Ministers, investors, technology providers, gamers and developers, start-ups, public-sector representatives, publishers, broadcasters, brands, advertisers and leagues are all due to attend.

In total, in excess of 1,200 delegates from around the world are expected for the in-person forum.

The mass gathering of influential figures has given Prince Faisal confidence that it could transform the long-term future of esports.

"In an era where the ability to meet in-person to share ideas and collaborate has never been more important, the Next World Forum bridges the gap between virtual-world creativity and real-world development," he said.

"There are numerous high-level opportunities, that can genuinely shape the future of esports and gaming, which will emanate from the Next World Forum.

"I am hugely excited about the conservations that will be taking place in Saudi Arabia, a nation that truly embodies the spirit of transformation and progressive action.

"In esports and gaming, we are always seeking game-changers - and the Next World Forum is a platform for ushering in a new era in the phenomenal growth of the industry that we all love and cherish."

Riyadh will host the the Next World Forum during the Gamers8 festival ©Getty Images
Riyadh will host the the Next World Forum during the Gamers8 festival ©Getty Images

Prince Faisal is one 14 confirmed speakers alongside Global Esports Federation vice-president and British Esports chief executive Chester King.

The event is taking place at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre.

Technological development challengers impacting gaming and esports, trends such as cloud gaming and the desire for fresh content are among topics set for discussion.

Others include the growth of impact-driven gaming, the real-world impact of innovative gaming across several sectors and regulation and legislation.

The Next World Forum will also touch upon talent and infrastructure development and the emergence of the Saudi esports market.

An industry keynote speech on "Gaming and Esports as the Next Frontier of Media, Gaming as an Untapped Economic Powerhouse, and VR/AR and the Metaverse in the Spotlight" is scheduled for the first day of the event.

Topics for panels on the second day include discussions on Governments assuming the role of esports ecosystem enablers, improving gamers' health and the rising prominence of gaming venues.

Chester King is among the speakers to attend the Next World Forum ©Getty Images
Chester King is among the speakers to attend the Next World Forum ©Getty Images

Gaming masterclasses and bilateral meetings are additionally planned.

The Next World Forum will bring the ongoing Saudi-based Gamers8 festival to a close.

Gamers8, organised by the SEF, has been billed as the largest esports event ever, with elite-level competitions, concerts, magic shows and comedy acts all part of the festivities.

It boasts a total prize pool of $15 million (£12.4 million/€14.7 million).

Critics of Saudi Arabia have accused the country of sportwashing due to its poor human rights record, with staging esports events seen as a part of this strategy.

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi, and free speech and women’s rights are severely restricted.