RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition on Sunday gave its approval to NEOM and MBC, the media company, to establish a video game studio.
The authority gave approval to the economic concentration process between the two entities following a study of the Kingdom’s video game market and the issues concerning competition in the sector.
The study concluded that entry of a new player will lead to healthy competition in the Saudi market.
The Saudi gaming market boomed in 2020 as more people turned to their controllers and joysticks to pass the time during a year of lockdowns.
The gaming market in the Kingdom is estimated to be worth SR2.6 billion ($690 million) and its growth rate is among the highest in the world. The market is expected to reach SR9.5 billion by the end of the decade.
Online gaming in particular is one of the sectors currently recording strong growth.
In a recent interview, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, president of the Saudi Esports Federation told Arab News that the sector will contribute about 1 percent of Saudi GDP by 2030, which might seem a small proportion but the amount of money potentially involved is significant.
According to the Global Esports and Live Streaming Market Report, published in March by games and esports analyst Newzoo, global revenues from esports, or competitive video gaming, are projected to grow to more than $1.08 billion in 2021, an increase of 14 percent on the previous year.
“We are a part of a global community,” said Prince Faisal, who added that it is important for this community to come together and dispel misconceptions about gaming and esports.
Saudi authorities are also planning to establish an esports academy as part of the NEOM smart city development.
And for those interested in the development of games, Tuwaiq1000 has offered course for beginners interested in learning how to program from scratch, or for professionals who want to refine their programming skills.