RIYADH: NEOM, the global development taking shape in northwest Saudi Arabia, has joined forces with Maysalward, the pioneering mobile game studio from the Middle East, in an exciting collaboration to launch the NEOM Game Dev Challenge.
The pilot program has just begun with the goal of empowering the next generation of game developers in the Kingdom, starting in Riyadh.
The initiative is designed to harness the burgeoning talent pool of youth within Saudi Arabia, targeting students aged between 15 and 17. The NEOM Game Dev Challenge offers a unique platform for students to embark on a journey of learning, designing, developing, and ultimately launching their own mobile games, and supports Saudi Arabia’s progress as a regional game development hub in line with Vision 2030’s economic diversification goals.
Maysalward, a mobile game studio founded in 2003, has consistently led the charge in mobile gaming innovation, boasting a portfolio of captivating games and a legacy of nurturing young talent. The studio was named among the top 30 developers and publishers in the Middle East and North Africa region by Pocket Gamer in 2022, while its founder scooped the award for Mobile Game Legend in 2023.
Nour Khrais, founder of Maysalward, said: “Partnering with NEOM for this transformative initiative is a significant step. Our shared vision is to empower the next generation of game developers in Saudi Arabia. With the rapid growth of mobile phone ownership among the youth, now is the opportune moment to harness and nurture their potential. I’m personally thrilled to be a part of kickstarting this groundbreaking project in Saudi Arabia.”
The vision of building a future-focused community in NEOM harmonizes with Maysalward’s commitment to education and innovation. The NEOM Game Dev Challenge will offer students a blend of hands-on experience and academic enrichment to transfer knowledge and accelerate Saudi Arabia’s mobile gaming landscape.
Wayne Borg, managing director of media industries, entertainment, and culture at NEOM, said: “Our partnership with Maysalward highlights NEOM’s commitment to nurturing youth and fostering digital innovation in Saudi Arabia. The NEOM Game Dev Challenge aims to spark transformation, fueling the creativity of the Kingdom’s young talents and driving our mission to become an elite global media hub for game development.”
Students will have the unique opportunity to benefit from mentorship by the Maysalward team, ensuring they receive technical guidance and invaluable insights into the global gaming market. The program will conclude with an award ceremony for the students and their parents, set to take place in Riyadh in December.
The winning team’s school will be awarded a NEOM Gaming Mini-Lab featuring a combination of hardware and software for students to work on game projects, further encouraging innovation and growth within the mobile game development industry in Saudi Arabia.