RIYADH: The gaming business is a base economy in Saudi Arabia with huge potential for return, as the Kingdom steadily diversifies its revenue-generating sources in line with its Vision 2030, said NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr.
“We see the gaming business as a base economy to start off. Everything has a return. That economy will have to be built on solid sectors that have a future," Al-Nasr said while speaking at the Next World Forum in Riyadh on Sept.7.
He revealed that the heart of NEOM’s gaming interests will be housed in The Line, the proposed smart linear city in NEOM which is designed to have no cars, streets, or carbon emissions.
“In the middle of ‘The Line.’ That is where the heart of gaming will be. When you are walking in ‘The Line’, you will hear the noise of gaming,” he added.
Al-Nasr said that Saudis have all the resources not just to play games but to develop and design games too.
“In NEOM itself, over 40 percent of the employees, mostly Saudis, are all in their late 20s and early 30s. You have the right generation to design games, not only to play the games,” he said.
Al-Nasr further pointed out that NEOM has already started a program to create joint venture partnerships with major international firms to elevate the gaming sector.
He added that NEOM has partnered regionally with Saudi Arabian media conglomerate MBC to establish the first AAA games development studio.
AAA is a classification within the gaming industry that labels games produced and distributed by midsized or big publishers that usually have higher budgets.
“Gamers are those who are daring to risk and grow. Gamers will be game changers in the world. Not just in gaming, but in many aspects of life. They will be leading the world into a different world,” he further noted.
Wayne Borg, managing director, Media, Entertainment, Culture & Fashion Industries at NEOM agreed, saying that gaming is one of the future industries which will fuel the Saudi Arabian economy.
“We are all here. We understand how big the gaming sector is globally and how the Kingdom, in particular, punches above its weight in terms of market size,” said Borg.
He added: “In NEOM, it is about the future and how people are going to live, how they’re going to work, how they’re going to interact socially with their environment, and I think that’s absolutely epitomized by The Line.”