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Always game, Part I
From World of Warcraft to Whack the Penguin, online gaming is a global phenomenon. And slowly but surely, the Middle East is playing its part, reports Communicate magazine. Part I.
December 15, 2009 12:11 by Rania Habib
Once a gamer, always a gamer. That’s one saying game developers like to hear.
The world of gaming is as wide and varying as it is wildly entertaining and scarily addictive, but lately there’s one type of game that’s standing out in the crowd. Collectively, they have won – and still are winning – the hearts and thumbs of millions. They are online games.
The death of dial up – and the corresponding explosion of broadband – has revolutionized the gaming world. Gamers have witnessed a proliferation of online games of all kinds, from basic, e-circulated time-killers like Whack the Penguin, to the world’s most subscribed massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), like the intricate, submersive World of Warcraft.
While online gaming is one of the fastest growing video game segments on the planet (forecasted to be a $13 billion industry by 2013 according to Steve Tsao, CEO of UAE-based Tahadi Games), the Middle East has yet to get up to speed. “It’s not really for a lack of Internet users, because there are about 50 million in the Middle East,” says Tsao. “It seems to be more an issue of lack of content, specifically Arabic content.”
The region is definitely paying attention to the gaming world, though – as evidenced by the 2nd Dubai World Game Expo in October 2009. But industry experts say their field in the region is still under-developed.