Morocco turbocharges its e-sports economy

bird story agency Kenya May 21, 2024

Bonface Orucho, bird story agency…

Morocco’s e-gaming scene is booming, fueled by a growing youthful community, dynamic esports events, and strong government support.

From May 24th to 26th the North African country hosts its first gaming expo at the Sofitel Jardin des Roses in Rabat Gaming City.

Aymane Mehdi, a software engineer and e-gamer involved in organizing the expo said the event offers a “sneak peek into upcoming titles, virtual reality demos, and interactive showcases of innovative gaming hardware and accessories.”

The expo will also “open the horizons for investors to enter Morocco and open the doors to participation in international leagues, not just Moroccan championships,” Mehdi explained.

The event is the latest sign of the country’s nurturing of an e-gaming industry whose appeal among youth has grown significantly and which offers both entertainment and opportunities.

From startups and incubators to training operators, funders, and infrastructure suppliers, the gathering is intended to catalyze collaboration and innovation.

Data from the International Esports Association shows that up to 11 million Moroccans play video games regularly.

esportsearnings.com, a data site assessing esports earnings by country, ranks Morocco third in Africa behind Egypt and South Africa in terms of revenues earned from e-gaming. The site tracks 194 Moroccan players.

Research firm Newzoo predicted that the continent’s revenues from the sale of games will cross the US$1 billion mark in 2024.

Increasing government support has boosted the e-gaming industry in Morocco. In 2022, as part of the Morocco E-Sport Summit, the capital Rabat announced the creation of Gaming City. The first phase of the facility, hosted on a 5-hectare space in Yaacoub Mansour municipality, is on course.

Beyond infrastructural developments, the creation of a dedicated e-games federation, the Royal Moroccan Federation for Electronic Games, founded in 2020, has been a major boost to the sector.

The federation launched the country’s first major e-games championship, eBotola MDJS eSport, featuring top clubs from the Botola Pro, the country’s first division. Those clubs include Wydad, Raja, AS FAR, Chabab Mohammedia, and Hassania d’Agadir.

“These matches take place in two main locations: the headquarters of the Electronic Games governing body, and in youth centers across the kingdom,” an April press release from the federation explained.

The high number of video game fans and players has led to a surge in number of investment companies involved in planning tournaments.

Some of the biggest esports event organizers in the country include the Moroccan Esports Association (MEA), Ultimate Gaming Experience (UGE), Game Evolution Events (GEE), Moroccan Gaming League (MGL), Atlas Esports Events (AEE), Maghreb Esports Festival (MEF), Gamers’ Paradise Productions (GPP), among others.

The surge in activity attracted the global gaming community which has begun hosting international events in the country.

The International Esports Federation (IESF) will host its first offline event in Morocco, with regional qualifiers for the World Esports Championship (WEC24) set to be held in Casablanca from August 17 to 21. Over 300 athletes will compete in the June pre-qualifiers, with 180 advancing to the IESF African Esports Championship Casablanca 2024.

The World Esports Championship, the premier global esports event, will hold its 16th edition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from November 11 to 19, 2024. Teams will be competing for a prize pool of US$1 million shared among 8 top teams in each of the 8 categories.

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