Dubai – United Arab Emirates, 9th of June, 2015:
“Video games are the future, and there’s no way to avoid them”
The Middle East continues to position itself as one of the major hubs for the computer and video games industry with a market estimated to cross $1.4 billion, according to local sources. The ME region ranks high on the statistics of mobile phones penetration and daily usages. Many reports have shown that users in the Middle East carry more than one mobile phone and they spend a great deal of their time browsing the internet, watching videos and playing videogames.
Video games are sneaking into every aspect of our lives and they are becoming part of our daily lifestyle. According to a report by Northwestern University in Qatar in partnership with Doha Film Institute, about two-thirds in Saudi Arabia and the UAE play video games (65% and 63%, respectively), while closer to three in ten in Qatar and Egypt do so (33% and 29%, respectively). Four in ten play in Lebanon, and only a quarter play video games in Tunisia.
Experts revealed that the Middle East region, and the Gulf in particular, has become amongst the world’s most active consumers of video games. The high demand for computer and video games is attracting more investors and game developers to the region. In the past 7 years, Dubai World Game Expo succeeded to be the leading platform for meeting with interactive entertainment developers, publishers, distributors, service providers, platform providers, localization providers, payment providers, multimedia, telecom operators, investors, government institutions, and retailers in the MENA region. Dubai World Game Expo, part of the Big Entertainment show, is considered the largest event for video games and digital entertainment industry in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region.
Various genres of video games are witnessing great interest of children, teenagers and even adults. Simulation games, for example, which simulate aspects of a real or fictional reality, have seen a great boom since the first videogame of this type SimCity, published in 1989. In addition to serious games and edutainment that are meant for mere education or problem solving and entertaining forms of education in the case of edutainment, Dubai World Game Expo will cover these different genres of videogames that are penetrating our lives through mobile phones or console screens.
Eng. Anas Al Madani, Vice – Chairman and CEO of INDEX Holding said: “According to research company DFC Intelligence, the global computer and video games revenues, including console, PC and smartphone titles, have reached $66bn in 2013, and this figure is expected to grow to $79bn in 2017. Those figures that are increasing by the year reflect the need for such an event that addresses the various aspects related to videogames industry in the region.”
Eng. Anas Al Madani continued on saying: “Interest in the 8th edition of Dubai World Game Expo is huge, as we can see remarkable participations from companies that produce and develop video games this year, and that is due to the tremendous growth in the industry. As a result, there are producers, distributors, publishers, and service providers participating as well because as the industry continues to grow, the demand for service providers increases as well. Dubai World Game Expo this year will attract more than 80 companies from over 50 countries, and we are expecting over 3000 visitors and participants within the 3 days of the event.”
Besides the exhibition, The Dubai World Game Summit promises to continue to be the educational center for all computer and video game professionals and enthusiasts in the MENA region. The Summit will discuss key topics this year, including the best practices for successful online games localization, payment, monetization and marketing, the future of gaming on different mobile platforms, and the successful game design models and strategies.
From his side, Mr. Abdullah Hamad, Founder of GameTako said: “With the rise of local developers in the region, it has become very essential to start celebrating development and launching games in the region. Through the last couple of years, we, as a development community, have stimulated the development of prototypes. Now it is time to stimulate the actual development of complete games. Dubai World Game Expo is the perfect platform to provide that stimulation. Dubai World Game Expo has the potential not to just to be a platform of businesses, but as a platform to elevate interactive arts as a whole.”
He went on saying: “Game developers locally are passing the stage of prototyping their experiences and are ready to launch their games to their audiences. Developers are ready to get their games exposed to their peers. Only through that recognition, will they get the drive to make more games, increase their quality, raise their awareness, and finally build a better game development community.”
“In addition to that, Dubai World Game Expo will enable local developers to showcase their games to other developers in the region. Get recognition from their local peers as well as the international game development community. This is a door to all developers for international stardom, which would energize them to develop more games and compete with others in a prestigious space.” – Concluded Mr. Abdullah Hamad.
The direction of game development is focusing more on the niche market, and as a result, the number of indie game developers is rising in the region. To support this emerging trend, Dubai World Game Expo committee decided to host this year for the first time in the event’s history the Independent Game Developers Fest. This competition aim to attract the rising independent game developers from the region and the world to display their games and participate in the competition for cash prizes.
A panel of reputed professionals in the game development industry will select the winners with a cash prize pool of 5000 USD that will be given to the winners to help them fund their games and enter the market. This initiative by Dubai World Game Expo aims to show support to aspiring independent game developers who are paving their way in this promising industry.
Commenting on this industry, Mr. Ahmad Jadallah, Director of Development, of Semanoor International said: “There is an astonishing push for virtual reality experiences by several high profile companies and it seems that this is the way of the future for full immersion. Mobile devices are also catching up with consoles at a rapid pace and will soon have the horsepower to deliver amazing content.”
Mr. Ahmad added: “Dubai World Game Expo is a great platform for getting updated about the latest technologies and developments in the field as well as the chance for networking with other developers from the region and abroad. I would to invite all those interested in the Middle Eastern game development scene to visit the Dubai World Game Expo and get the chance to meet fellow developers as well as international companies that are participating.”
Dubai World Game Expo will be held on the 3rd and 4th of November, 2015 at Hall 8 of the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event is organized yearly by INDEX Conferences & Exhibitions, member of INDEX Holding, and it is supported by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE) and the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association (LIMA).