The Rise of Gaming Culture in The Arab World

You do not usually get to hear much about the Middle East advancing technology wise, mostly because of the fact that the media does not relate the Middle East with such topics. However, many Middle Eastern countries, especially Arab ones, have been developing an interest towards technology related hobbies and practices. There has been an especially rapid growth of gaming culture in these areas, a while ago parents would discourage children from gaming since it was not really considered to be productive, but this has slowly been changing.

With the rise of gaming culture, people are slowly becoming more accepting of gaming as a hobby and even as a profession, thanks to numerous governmental bodies that have promoted and funded many endeavours along with help from tech giants such as Twitch and Facebook. The fruits of their efforts have already started to show, the recently organized Games Con event that was held to showcase local talent and develop interest in gaming related technology was a huge success with over 10,000 people attending it.

This three day event was inspired by the many humungous gaming events that are held throughout the world on annual basis and has seemed to win the hearts of the many gamers that live in the UAE. The international game market has grown by 12% in 2017 and reports have shown that many Middle Eastern countries have been a part of this growth, showing that the practice of pirating games and DVDs in these areas has gone down.

Where there was a practically non-existent market, people have now started legitimately buying games, this is largely thanks to efforts made by governmental bodies to promote various titles in the area. By collaborating with companies like Sony and Disney, the filtering and banning of video game titles has been cut down over the past seven years or so.

Another promising development has been the evolution of an e-sports culture in the UAE, even though it is still miles behind Asia’s e-sports culture, there has been a noticeable change in perception. Local and regional gamers have started making names for themselves by competing internationally and by producing money through gaming, Arab gamers are already bringing in skills and fresh challenges into the international gaming community.

Last year, the world’s best Mortal Kombat player was almost beaten by a 22 year old Ahmed Hashem at the renowned Evolution Championship Series held in Las Vegas.

Gaming tournaments are not the only place where Arabs have been gaining ground, there has also been a positive trend in the rise of UAE YouTubers who have been gathering followers and heading towards success. The Saudi Government has had a big hand in promoting the development of such talents and activates and thanks to this, the UAE is quickly catching up with the rest of the world’s gamers and YouTubers despite the fact that they joined this race much later than everyone else currently operating over there.

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