Credit By: Arab News
Saudi Arabia has committed to investing $8 billion in the gaming industry over the past year as part of its ambitious plans to become an international gaming hub. The move is driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 initiative, aimed at diversifying the economy beyond oil. The $8 billion investment is a fraction of the $38 billion budget earmarked to establish Saudi Arabia as a global gaming centre.
Strategic Economic Diversification:
Saudi Arabia aims to diversify its economy by investing heavily in the gaming industry, recognizing it as one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors. This strategic move is aligned with the Vision 2030 initiative, which seeks to reduce dependence on oil revenues and promote economic diversification.
National Strategy for Gaming Development:
The Kingdom’s gaming aspirations include a comprehensive national strategy for industry development, focusing on esports and competitive gaming. The goals include contributing 1% of the annual GDP through gaming, generating 40,000 jobs, and producing at least 30 new gaming titles.
Youthful Population and Economic Growth:
With over 65% of its population under 30 years old, Saudi Arabia sees gaming as a promising avenue for economic growth, leveraging the widespread use of the internet and mobile phones among its youth.
Investments in Global Gaming Companies:
Saudi Arabia has strategically invested in global gaming companies such as Nintendo and Activision Blizzard. These investments signal the Kingdom’s commitment to establishing itself within the global gaming landscape.
Challenges and Opportunities:
Despite progress with 24 local gaming startups established by the end of 2022, challenges include limited experience, small employee pools, and revenue generation hurdles. Efforts are needed to address gender diversity, as women represent 32% of the industry.
Competition with the UAE:
The competition for regional economic dominance between Saudi Arabia and the UAE is evident in the gaming sector. Both nations recognize the massive potential of the gaming market in the Middle East, with projections of $6 billion in gaming revenues by 2027.
Optimism and Vision 2030:
Despite challenges, there is optimism about the local gaming industry’s prospects. With the Crown Prince closely monitoring the initiative, Saudi Arabia’s gaming transformation is expected to contribute to redefining the Kingdom’s economic trajectory.
Saudi Arabia’s foray into the gaming industry reflects a broader trend of countries recognizing the economic potential of the gaming sector and strategically investing to capitalize on its growth. The move aligns with global trends, where gaming has evolved into a major entertainment industry with significant economic impact.
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