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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Qatar to host international gaming convention this winter

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2013 IGN convention in Bahrain.
2013 IGN convention in Bahrain.

Popular international gaming website IGN will host its third regional conference in Doha this year from Oct. 10 to 11 at the Qatar National Convention Center.

The aim of the conference is two-fold, focusing both on promoting international movies, video games, comics, and pop culture within the region, and on showcasing local talent and artists.

Organized by IGN Middle East, a Dubai-based branch of the IGN corporation, the event will be the first of its kind in Qatar.

Gaming appears to be growing in popularity here. Last fall, an independent company opened The Gaming Lounge to cater to residents who wish to compete in video game tournaments.

And in December, a group of young women launched Qatar’s first locally-made video game: Giddam, a side-scrolling, racing/platform game for mobile devices, which draws on familiar characters who are armed with traditional headgear and footwear, and fueled by hot karak tea.

Speaking to Doha News, Sandeep Pamulapati, a recent graduate of Northwestern University in Qatar and head of its gaming club, hailed the convention as a milestone.

“I’m happy that there’s an increase in gaming culture in Doha. Not many people know that there’s a thriving gaming scene, and this will be a starting point for, hopefully, better things. Who knows, in a few years, we may even have an E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) conference.”

Convention plans

The 2014 edition of the convention, which was previously held in Dubai and Bahrain, is expected to be IGN’s biggest production in terms of offerings.

2013 IGN Convention in Bahrain.
2013 IGN Convention in Bahrain.

Discussing the upcoming convention, organizer Hitesh Uchil told Doha News:

“The event will host a number of spectacular activities for enthusiasts as international celebrities mingle with the crowds. Fans will also get to interact with regional artists in Q&A sessions. This is all in addition to amazing comic book and film events, including a cosplay competition, gaming announcements, trivia quizzes, comic book stalls (etc).”

While a finalized schedule hasn’t been released, the two-day conference will feature various zones for comics, video games, movies, toy rentals, and retail.

Part of the convention will be dedicated to the Artist Alley, which will showcase and sell work by Qatar-based artists and game developers.

The main stage will host gaming celebrities, interactive discussion panels, Q&A sessions with regional artists, and other entertainment. Other attractions will include an Action Figure Museum, a Cinema Zone, and numerous video game tournaments.

The convention also promotes cosplay, short for “costume play,” a form of performance art where people dress up as characters from popular films, comics, and games. Prizes will awarded to the best-dressed participants.

Workshops on movie making, video game development, drawing manga, and creating animations will also be offered to attendees.

The convention also aims to showcase the best in gaming technology.

“At our last event, we had the PlayStation 4 a month before global release. We also have Oculus Rift, NVIDIA Shield and some really cool game previews. Similarly, we should have a lot of new games showcased at the event as well as some cool new gaming gear,” Uchil said.

Previous conferences have drawn large crowds, with over 5,000 fans attending the Bahrain convention and over 7,000 in Dubai. So far, the 2014 convention event page has signed up nearly 800 registrants.

Young people in particular appear to be excited about the upcoming event. Abdullah Idris Gamil, a 21-year-old college student, said:

“I think it’s amazing because it includes local talent and the gaming community on an international stage. It promotes a positive image of what gaming is, and shows the world that it is so much more than a hobby.”

To sign up for the convention, go here or learn more about the event here. Thoughts?

8 COMMENTS

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Joson John
Joson John
7 years ago

WOW !!! Awesome News !!!
Hope the ticket rate is not that high !!!!

Jaded
Jaded
7 years ago

Great news for gamers young and old. Hopefully they will use this publicity to have some awareness campaign for game age ratings as well, too many kids play violent 18 rated games in the region. I’m surprised the government hasn’t done anything to encourage shop owners and parents to pay more attention to this. I think that would be more useful than outright banning a handful of games that are deemed unacceptable, most games are fine as long as age ratings are adhered to

Amber
Amber
7 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Restricting games to a certain age group is useless. In the US you have to issue an ID to prove you are over 18 to buy games like Grand theft auto. But parents still buy their kids the game. You can’t control who plays the video games. All games have ratings slapped on the cover of the video game. 18+ is a very clear rating. A store employee shouldn’t have to tell you that.
It is the parents responsibility. Unfortunately a lot of parents don’t care what their kids play nowadays.

Jaded
Jaded
7 years ago
Reply to  Amber

I agree with you in the case of other countries, but I think in Qatar we’re not even at this point yet, I’ve seen on a few occasions kids clearly well below 18 buy games that I know are 18 rated, so I think even some enforcement in the shops will help, even if only to make the kids tell their parents to buy the games for them, it will make some of them think again

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

It think it’s great. I hope censorship does not get in the way

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

it will certainly effect any cosplay, some game titles changed ex. injustice gods among us in comicon dubai was changed into titans among us

sadam
sadam
7 years ago

Reallllyy?!?!?! The middle east region doesn’t even have dedicated server for Steam or Garena.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

Now this is a “sport” that young Qataris actually play. Good for Qatar to finally host something relevant to its youth.

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