Middle East gaming sector to grab huge investments

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The gaming technology industry in the UAE and the Middle East region has increasingly gained the interests of investors, as the sector witnessed a boom during the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to experts, with the increasing popularity of gaming, the industry will open a vast spectrum of job opportunities for developers and more projects are being developed to meet the needs of a growing audience.

Majed Al Suwaidi
Majed Al Suwaidi
MD -Dubai Media City

“The UAE’s ecosystem for gaming and content creation is rapidly evolving, owing to world-class infrastructure, a sizable & growing market, high rates of digital penetration and connectivity, and the ease of doing business. Over the years, the region has developed a highly engaged gaming audience, which presents a huge opportunity for developers and content creators.”

Being Middle East’s prominent media and entertainment hub, the Dubai Media City and the startup incubator in5 Dubai have been contributing to increasing the sector’s potential by offering a platform for gaming innovators to present their ideas to the market.

“Most recently, our partner Boss Bunny joined hands with Lammtara Studio to develop games based on some of the region’s most well-loved animated shows, including Freej,” said Al Suwaidi.

The startup incubator has been organizing and participating in events like ON.DXB, DGC and GameOn for enhancing the inter and intra-industry partnerships and dialogue. The in5 Dubai is targeting to develop new gaming applications in the coming years by incorporating technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Market researcher, Newzoo, projected that the number of gamers around the globe will top three billion by 2023. The world’s 2.7 billion gamers will spend $159.3 billion on games in 2020 and by 2023, the game market will surpass $200 billion.

While all game segments saw an increase in engagement and revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was mobile gaming that saw the biggest increase. In total, mobile games have generated revenue of $77.2 billion in 2020, growing 13.3 percent from 2019. The growth in the segment is being driven by mobile games and hits like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Pokemon Go.

Recently, Kaspersky Innovation Hub (iHub) and edge cloud provider, G-Core Labs, have joined forces to search for and support promising gaming projects. The partnership will offer expertise, infrastructure and resources to prospects that have the potential to change the gaming world.

The program aims to give multiple values to the startup community and allow entrepreneurs to develop trailblazing gaming projects. The partner companies also plan to jointly connect with gaming startups to raise awareness about the initiative among niche developers.

“This partnership is an important step to pull together our capabilities, back innovative startups and allow them to validate, grow and scale their ideas,” said Vitaly Mzokov, head of Kaspersky iHub.

G-Core Labs will provide prospects with free access to its cloud infrastructure, which is critical to building products technically. Selected startups will have a chance to receive up to $30708 that can be used within two years.