Saudi youths in the grip of gaming fever

Saudi youths in the grip of gaming fever
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Saudi youths in the grip of gaming fever
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Updated 06 April 2015

Saudi youths in the grip of gaming fever

Saudi youths in the grip of gaming fever

Hopping from a video games shop to another in the narrow allies of Al-Balad, Jeddah’s historical district, and one of the main hubs of video gaming in the country, he could not find the game he was looking for although it was released the very same day. “I could not go there in the morning, I got busy at work. By 8 O’clock that evening, the game was sold out, the hundreds of released versions of the game were flying off the shelves, I had to wait for another week till the next batch arrived in the market.”
That is how video gaming is seriously popular in the Kingdom.
The interesting thing is that gaming, that is usually portrayed with some lonely guy sitting in a dark room and killing some zombies on the screen, is turning into a social activity in the days of social media.
Modern consoles and new games are all about networking. Go online and compete with your friends and compete with the world. You could be sitting in your home in Jeddah and playing a football game with someone in Rome, as distance does not matter, time difference does not matter, it is enough that you are connected to the Internet. Most probably, the winner would be proud enough to share the result across his online circles of friends, or even better, on Twitter or Facebook.
It is not only that; how video gaming is marketed and its news is shared is totally different nowadays compared to a couple of years ago. It is a whole new industry. Game playing is recorded and published on YouTube, you are no longer stuck with that monster that you were not able to vanquish. New games are creating Facebook and Twitter accounts to share trailers, teasers, and behind-the-scene stories; each and every video game comes with a personality of its own, seducing players to buy and engage.
One of the popular local stories about how social media has changed the gaming scene is “Saudi Gamer,” an Arabic platform for news and videos that started as a podcast and boomed in the days of social media. It has more than 600,000 subscribers to its YouTube channel, more than 192,000 followers on Twitter, and 213,000 followers on Instagram.
Mashhoor Al-Dubayan, founder of the platform, was quoted on Reuters as saying that the increased consumer interest meant a business opportunity for something that started as a hobby. “After just a year of running it, we started seeing a business opportunity and began relationships with major companies (as sponsors).”
For a country where almost half of the population is under 25, it is no doubt that social media and gaming would end being a happy couple.