|Published:||13 Aug at 6 PM|
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As the UAE jobs market shrinks due to nationalisation, expats wanting to stay in the region are considering online gaming as a full-time job.
Esports are the latest fad as well as a potential money-maker due to the esports tournaments paying out as much as millions of dirhams in prize money to successful players. The industry is now flourishing in the Gulf States, attracting a growing number of events as a result. One organisor, YaLaEsports, has garnered a massive amount of funding from investors and now has 50 players taking part in huge worldwide tournaments.
One 24-year old expat employed as a sales agent is now planning to switch to a career in esports due to his expertise in the Hearthstone game. He’s already won several Dubai tournaments, allowing him to cover his expenses, but winning Dh55,000 at the China-based World Electronic Sports Games allowed him to buy a car and get his driving license. He’s been a gamer for 12 years, ever since he went to secondary school, with his ultimate goal to win big and put the Middle East in prime position as a gaming hub.
According to the expat founder of YaLaEsports, prizes can run between $1,000 to literally millions of dollars. He believes esports is a viable career even although salaries for local UAE players don’t yet come up to USA or EU levels. He emphasises that, as a career, the industry doesn’t just offer playing the games for their earnings potential, but also gives the opportunity for experienced players to become coaches, analysts or casters, thus earning decent salaries.
Already, the region is producing expert gamers such as the 16-year old who recently walked away with $3 million at a New York event. UAE teenagers are also earning good money competing successfully in the tournaments or coaching their friends who’re looking to follow in their footsteps, with one Canadian expat student reputed to have amassed Dh83,5000 by sharing his expertise with other players.
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