Game Changers: Essam Alghamdi

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The evolving gaming sphere in Saudi Arabia.


The Expert

Essam Alghamdi
Manager of Gaming, NEOM

Essam Alghamdi has been a part of the Saudi gaming industry for numerous years. In his current capacity as Manager of Gaming at NEOM, he is witnessing the sector expand and shares with us his insights on its direction.

We began the conversation by exploring where the  gaming ecosystem currently stands in Saudi Arabia Essam gladly guided us by sharing “The Saudi video games market has generated USD 1 billion in revenue as of 2021 and is currently the 19th largest gaming market globally. Over 60% of the Saudi population is under 24, translating into a vast target audience for game developers.” He added, “Another major supportive factor is the Kingdom’s investment in creating the ideal digital environment that underpins innovation across various sectors. This has cemented Saudi Arabia as a key growth area for game development companies globally.”

Given these factors coming into play, how far the gaming industry evolved? And he said “I would say the main launchpad for the evolution Saudi Arabia is witnessing is Vision 2030. Economic diversification paired with the deployment of next-generation digital infrastructure allowed for the emergence of a 5G ecosystem, further empowering digital-based industries. Driving them to exponential growth as the gaming market over the past years. As a result, we have seen more investment and support for the gaming space across the value chain, from game development to esports.”

Hence, we asked what Essam sees are the challenges that need to be overcome, and he replied,“The primary challenge facing the games industry at large is talent development and ennoblement. Luckily, these challenges are being adeptly addressed as more companies rally to cement their position in the market.” Adding “Therefore, we are seeing more Saudi-based entities invest in talent development to enable this market to grow” So what does the future of gaming look like? “As the adage goes, content is king. So investment in content and talent development will enable Saudi Arabia’s market to grow substantially and contribute to creating a new economic driver. Being one of the largest gaming markets in the region, hosting large-scale gaming events, and planning for a AAA gaming studio, we are already leading the way in MENA. Now it’s a matter of leveraging that position to create the next generation of creators.”

It is ultimately in our hands how we want to create impact, and I firmly believe that in Saudi Arabia we are well-positioned and beyond capable of creating the next generation of visionary game developers and professional gamers.

Instagram: ess4malghamdi

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