Dubai: Five-day festival to celebrate global gaming talent

Second edition of Dubai Esports and Games Festival to create a platform for gamers, investors, entrepreneurs, and international players

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By Web Desk

Published: Fri 2 Jun 2023, 7:36 PM

Second edition of the annual Dubai Esports and Games Festival (DEF) will be held from June 21 to 25 with an exciting line-up of events, the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) announced on Friday.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, DEF is set to take place at the South Halls, Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo City Dubai.

The event is set to consolidate Dubai's rise as a global hub for the gaming industry and a focal point for the convergence of innovation in the media, gaming, esports, technology and entertainment sectors. The event also seeks to celebrate and empower gaming talent and foster the growth of esports communities. DEF 2023 will be open exclusively for schools through website registration from June 21-22, while the GameExpo consumer show will be held from June 23 to 25. As part of the event GameExpo Summit will be organised on June 21-22.

The GameExpo consumer show features the latest gaming products of leading industry players such as Playstation, Xbox, Ubisoft and Namco as well as a new influencer tournament, Play Beyond, that will see a contest between some of the world’s biggest gamers.

The GameExpo Summit, powered by PG Connects, will serve as a forum for regional leaders to explore collaboration to further springboard the strong growth in gaming, web3 and AI. The event offers attendees a chance to attend talks by over 100 industry thought leaders, develop their skills with expert workshops and network with more than 700 high-profile attendees. The event is also a unique opportunity to catch up on the latest offerings of game developers through exciting activations and exhibitions.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE), commented: "We are proud to present the region’s most exciting esports and gaming event for the second year in a row. The Dubai Esports and Games Festival (DEF) is set to transform the development of the gaming technology landscape in Dubai and the wider region. DEF 2023 presents an unparalleled opportunity for people in the industry to expand their networks with top-tier esports professionals, and connect with passionate and talented gamers from all around the world. Our goal is to create exciting spaces and platforms for industry leaders to thrive, while also providing families with the opportunity to enjoy the latest tech and gamer entertainment."


DEF 2023 will create a unique platform for global gamers, investors, entrepreneurs, and international players through a series of engaging activities. In addition to these activities, the GameExpo event will see a range of entertainment brands that cater to families and children.

GameExpo Summit

The Dubai GameExpo Summit is an annual two-day business conference summit designed to bring together professionals from all areas of the gaming industry, including developers, publishers, distributors, tool providers, and investors to share knowledge, network and discuss current trends, challenges, and opportunities in the global gaming market. The conference features a range of activities, including keynote speeches, panel discussions, fringe events, and networking sessions.

Each day of the GameExpo Summit is packed with informative talks and interactive sessions, providing attendees with valuable insights into the latest developments in the gaming industry. Attendees have the opportunity to network with industry leaders, share their experiences and expertise, and gain valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the gaming market. The conference also offers a platform for companies to showcase their latest products and services. Exhibitors can display their products in the exhibition hall, providing attendees with a chance to try out the latest games and technologies, enabling companies to receive feedback from potential customers and identify new market opportunities.

Summit tickets cost Dh150 for publishers, brands and governments, and Dh400 for agencies. VIP tickets cost Dh2,000.


This offers a regional alternative (and ultimately a challenger) to the likes of world-leading events such as Gamescom. Over three days, the public can come and explore a whole world of games, from retro arcade and 1980s and 2000 era games to experiencing new tech including the latest Virtual Reality games and simulators. GameExpo will feature many exciting activities at the Retro Zone, Discovery Zone, Tabletop Zone, Retail Zone and more. Bringing players together to enjoy some of the latest and biggest games in the world, GameExpo will showcase the best local talent from Dubai and the wider region with fun and engaging games like FreeFire, Cricket Gangster and Dominos Proeducation area.

Play Beyond

A new addition to the festival and the first of its kind in the region, the world’s biggest regional and global influencers will come together on June 24-25 to compete with each other in the new Dubai Play Beyond Trophy. Fans are in for a treat as they get to watch and learn from their favourite influencers live in action, getting tips and enjoying meet-and-greet sessions with the teams announced in the coming weeks.

Regional Tournaments

Connecting players across the region, this exciting online tournament targets entrepreneurs, adults, students and teens including FreeFire, Cricket Gangster and Dominos Pro with players able to win a mixture of money and hardware.

Students from across the UAE will participate in the Minecraft Education Challenge where they will compete to gain a spot in the grand finale against an invited regional team. The Global Standard Finals will be live and broadcast with casters, analysts and delivered by regional esports tournament production experts to give students a taste of what the pros experience. Students aged 11 and above will be able to participate in the Brawlhalla Esports Schools Clash that will see schools hosting qualifier tournaments until June 9 to find their “school champion”. Qualifying school champions will then travel to GameExpo on June 21 to battle it out on stage at the live finals to determine the overall tournament champion.

Another event, the Microsoft Makecode Competition is an exciting programme that teaches students computer programming. This year’s event will see a secondary-level competition to engage with students who are already showing talent or want to learn this skillset as part of a school team.

All pre-registered schools and universities can attend the education days free of charge on both June 21 and June 22. Students have the opportunity to play and compete at the Game Expo and listen to advice from industry experts on a future career in the gaming industry.

With its growing gaming consumer base and fast-developing industry, the MENA market represents the fastest-growing segment of the games industry. The festival and summit will bring players together to enjoy some of the latest and biggest games in the world as well as showcase the best local and global talent and minds in the industry.

Schools can register to attend the two days of GameExpo via the website.

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