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Always game, Part II

Always game, Part II

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 II.

December 16, 2009 9:19 by

The third type of online game – console games such as Guitar Hero or Counterstrike, which offer the option to compete with other players online using your console – are not being created regionally because it would bring local companies into competition with international giants, say industry experts.

“In Europe or the US, it would take millions of dollars to develop a game for a market as big as the universe,” quips El Hussein. “But here, developers would be creating games with a minimal budget for a very small gaming unit.”

Tsao also says that, outside of the UAE, the region is a heavily prone to piracy, which leads to a decrease in revenue. “For every one game that’s sold legitimately, 15 to 20 copies are made illegally,” he says. “So in an environment like that, it’s very difficult for the traditional models of Playstation or Xbox to be sustainable.”

Playing catch-up

So why has it taken the regional online gaming industry so long to start developing? With a favorably high percentage of youths in the region and a growing number of Internet users, the Middle East is primed for the development of online games. But Ghai says that the Western world is far more advanced than the Middle East in terms of industry maturity, original content development and infrastructure, not to mention broadband proliferation.

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