The festival took place from 21st – 25th June and welcomed more than 27,000 people across five action-packed days

  • Festival surpasses expectations with a stellar immersive experience showcasing the latest from the gaming industry and driving investment
  • Region’s biggest and most exhilarating esports and games festival is testament to Dubai’s commitment to innovation, entertainment and the growth of the esports and games industries

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The Dubai Esports and Games Festival (DEF 2023) is celebrating record attendance with families, friends and gamers enjoying a diverse range of events designed to cater to every gaming passion. Crowds in their thousands descended upon the Dubai Exhibition Centre every day and smashed all expectations with more than 27,000 people visiting over five days. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the region’s biggest ever and most exciting esports and games festival had something for all visitors with casual gamers, esports enthusiasts, and seasoned industry professionals immersing themselves in the world of gaming.

Attendees, of all ages, were in awe of the incredible experiences offered at DEF 2023 with gamers from around the world flocking to Dubai to transform the development of the gaming technology landscape. A focal point for the convergence of innovation in the media, gaming, esports, technology and entertainment sectors, DEF 2023 featured pulse-pounding tournaments and mind-bending virtual reality experiences with the South Halls of the Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo City Dubai, filled to capacity and transformed into a gamer’s paradise.

The dynamic line up of events celebrated and empowered gaming talent, fostering the growth of esports communities in the UAE and throughout the world. Held from June 21 to 25 June, the hugely popular DEF 2023 featured the GameExpo Summit, GameExpo, Regional Tournaments and the new Play Beyond Influential Influencers Tournament. The festival and summit brought players together to enjoy some of the latest and biggest games in the world, showcasing the best local and global talent and minds in the industry.

DEF 2023 kicked off with the GameExpo Summit, powered by Pocket Gamer Connects (PG), with talks by over 100 industry thought leaders and government agencies, cementing its reputation as the region’s premium games industry and B2B knowledge platform. Investors, game developers and other games related companies discussed the latest trends, shared insights and got business done with more than 1,300 high-profile attendees elevating the gametech sector in the UAE. Keynote speeches, panel discussions, fringe events, and networking sessions provided attendees with valuable insights into the latest developments in the gaming industry with topics including; AI Advances, Web3 Wonders, Mapping the Metaverse, Global and MENA Trends, Esports Innovations, Publishing Power, The Developer Toolkit, Show me the Money, and more.

Dubai’s biggest gaming weekend happened at GameExpo with an exciting line-up including high-octane Play Beyond Tournaments, all-time gaming classics at the Retro Zone, cutting-edge gaming products and the latest games (some never released!) on Dell computers. Industry giants such as Xbox, Ubisoft, Capcom and Teleios showcased their latest games in the du Gamers District, with unmissable family fun activations and esports tournaments held in collaboration with KitKat and Vox Cinemas. Eager gaming fans, families and the public immersed themselves in the world of virtual reality, tried new web 3.0 games hitting the market in the Emirates NBD Future Zone with gaming enthusiasts connecting in the Dubai Police Esports Arena.

The extraordinary Play Beyond tournament brought together top influencers from around the world, showcasing the exhilarating and entertaining world of esports, in a clash of titans, where the best influencers battled it out across multiple genres. Visitors saw mind-blowing gameplay, awe-inspiring skills, and epic moments on the main stage in the Gaming Theater in association with VOX Cinemas. Beloved influencers in an International Team, consisting of four global stars from different corners of the world and captained by MiniMinter (Instagram: @MiniMinter), and a Regional Team, composed of four influential gamers from the Middle East and including the charismatic team captain AboFlah (Instagram: @aboflah), battled for the Play Beyond Trophy with fans enjoying a thrilling and unforgettable experience with the regional team winning the trophy.

DEF 2023 catered to gamers, families, friends, industry professionals and esports experts as part of its exhilarating second edition, with the aim of uniting and developing the gaming and esports communities in Dubai and the region. The festival transformed Dubai into the epicenter of the esports and gaming industry, cementing its position as a global destination for enthusiasts worldwide.

About Dubai Esports & Games Festival:

Organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), Dubai Esports & Games Festival (DEF2023) takes place from the 21 to 25 June. Launched in 2022, the annual festival is held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo City Dubai. The festival aims to set and influence trends across both the global and regional gaming industry, and bolster Dubai’s position as a global hub for esports and interactive tech-driven entertainment, and as a global city at the forefront of innovation. DEF2023 will feature a combination of events including a lively GameExpo, esports tournaments and influencer challenges for consumers, alongside a thought-provoking and business stimulating conference and b2b networking event that connects companies from around the world.