In fact, a huge Fornite gaming event recently took place in City Centre Mirdif, and British YouTube superstar Ali A, who has 15 million subscribers, came to town to go head-to-head with a few lucky gamers.
You’ll know him from getting plenty of “Victory Royales” in the online multi-player video game that swept the world last year, and the 25-year-old British YouTube star came all the way to Dubai to play at City Centre Mirdif’s Fortnite extravaganza to play against some of the city’s best players.
Fortnite is an online video game that has swept the world since it was released in 2017, with more than 100 million people signing up to play.
It's basically a giant virtual fight where 100 players battle on an island until only one of them is left, using weapons that they find while exploring the landscape.
Players can also build forts using objects that they find – but it's not all easy because the playable area gets smaller and smaller as the game continues.
Time Out Dubai caught up with both Ali A and Clare Siobhán, another huge gamer on the YouTube front, telling us their thoughts about what the Fortnite gaming scene in Dubai is like, and even pointed out just how good some of the players were…
How has your trip to Dubai been?
Ali A: It’s been very good. It's been a very short trip but we packed in a lot. We got to go to the desert for the first time, then we rode on a camel, went dune bashing, there was a falcon display, fire display, amazing meal – it was a really cool time. To be in the middle of the desert and then just jumping in a car and being back in Dubai in only a few minutes – it’s just crazy to see the contrasts. It's been a really cool experience.
How was City Centre Mirdif’s Fortnite event?
Ali A: It was really good fun. You kind of forget when you’re sat behind your computer screen that people watch you all over the world, and when we say that we’re going here, you have no idea how many people are going to come. It was really busy. Loads of people wanted to say hello, taking hundreds and hundreds of pictures. We also 1v1’d a lot of people on Fortnite, some of the kids were amazing, as you’d expect, but I definitely won more than I lost, which is good! It was a great experience.
Do you think Dubai has a big chance to get in on the whole Fornite scene?
Ali A: It doesn’t really matter where you are in the world nowadays with these kinds of games. If you have friends to practise with and put enough time in, you can be just as good as anyone else, wherever they are globally. But for sure, there are a lot of kids over in Dubai with potential. They did a good job.
Clare Siobhán: There were a lot of kids playing the mobile version as well. They can play it anywhere, they were even in the queue playing Fortnite on their phones. I think it’s a good way for them to all be playing it all the time.
How big do you think the Esports gaming scene in Dubai is in general?
Ali A: E-Sports is definitely on the rise. You see these teams for lots of competitive games these days, Fortnite in particular. Obviously the game has made a lot of money, but they're turning that around and injecting millions, if not hundreds of millions into prize pools for competitive games. I entered a tournament at the beginning of the year, one of the first big competitive Fornite tournaments with influencers and pro players. I think I came fifth with my partner and all the money went to charity. That was really the start of the competitive scene in Fortnite. Since then the competitive players developed a lot. The plays and the tactics are at such a high skill level. That said, the potential of the next big Fortnite player coming from Dubai is a real thing, you know? It’s these young kids that are practising and playing at home, watching the other big streamer that play it.
Do you think you’ll be going up against any big players from Dubai in the future then?
Ali A: It could happen. I hope I can beat them! But judging by some of the skill levels of some of the kids I played against at City Centre Mirdif, there are some really good players out there.
Clare Siobhán: Some of them were under ten and they were amazing at the game. Give them a few years and they could be something special.
Ali A: Yes, it was like “your next player is eight years old” and then he just destroys me and I’m like “okay then, I need to practise a little bit more”.
Watch this space.