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ABU DHABI GAMING STRATEGY TO DRIVE NEXT PHASE OF GROWTH FOR THE GLOBAL VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY

17 Mar 2021

Current global video game industry is approaching $200 billion [1] and is predicted to hit $300 billion by 2026 [2].
The collaborative initiative, pioneered by twofour54, will bring Abu Dhabi entities together to develop a comprehensive gaming ecosystem
15 new industry players including Emirates Esports Association join Yas Creative Hub, with new details of Gaming Hub unveile

Abu Dhabi Gaming (AD Gaming), a collaborative new initiative pioneered by twofour54 Abu Dhabi, that aggregates the emirate’s drive to build a thriving gaming and esports ecosystem has launched today. Supported by Unity Technologies, Flash Entertainment, UAE Pro League, Emirates Esports Association and the Media Zone Authority, AD Gaming will provide a comprehensive support system for game developers, players, consumers, and businesses in Abu Dhabi. Announced at a virtual event on 17 March, the initiative will champion the development of regional talent and bring a calendar of year-round gaming events to Abu Dhabi.

As Abu Dhabi’s media and entertainment hub, twofour54 will provide space within the Free Zone for all businesses that make use of the Media Zone Authority’s bespoke gaming, esports and virtual reality licenses, as well as subsidies for new partner companies. Flash Entertainment, UAE Pro League and Emirates Esports Association will provide a flexible infrastructure to grow the esports community and will lead to the growth of the esports community and support esports businesses in the region.

AD Gaming has also announced that 15 new gaming and esports businesses will be joining Yas Creative Hub when it opens in Q4 2021, including the Emirates Esports Association, Boss Bunny, Kashkool Games, Khousouf Games and RobocomVR amongst others. Yas Creative Hub will include a purpose-built Gaming Hub, operated in partnership with industry giant Unity Technologies, which will provide a physical home for the gaming industry in Abu Dhabi. On-the-ground support will be provided to start-ups and aspiring professionals through a range of talent development and business support programmes.

His Excellency Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of twofour54, said: “The global gaming industry has been growing at an increasing rate over the last few years, and this growth has been accelerated by the pandemic to the extent that global revenues are expected to surpass $200 billion by 2023. AD Gaming will bring the Emirate’s existing gaming industry together under one strategic brand, and will invest in attracting a significant share of the emerging regional’s industry to form an ecosystem that fosters creativity and sustainable growth.”

James Hartt, Director, Strategy & Business Development for AD Gaming, said: “The collaborative approach AD Gaming will allow Abu Dhabi to capitalize on the gaming industry’s significant economic and cultural opportunity. The initiative will have a long-lasting impact, creating job opportunities for local talent whilst simultaneously developing professionals with the skills that gaming firms need to grow their businesses. We look forward to welcoming more gaming companies to our impressive roster of innovative SMEs and multinationals.”

Under the partnership with Unity Technologies, the gaming industry titan will be leading the ‘Train-the-Trainer’ development programme, working with several educational institutions across the UAE, including Abu Dhabi University, NYU Abu Dhabi, Higher Colleges of Technology and University of Sharjah. The aim of the programme is to fully equip professors and teachers with the skills to pass on their knowledge to their students, developing their AI, virtual reality, game development and coding skills. AD Gaming will also be supporting by linking students with gaming and esports partners to gain real industry experience.

During the launch event, Flash Entertainment announced that they will be holding four esports tournaments throughout 2021.

John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment, commented: “As the region’s leading entertainment events provider, we are at the forefront of MENA’s rapidly changing entertainment landscape, bringing innovative, unmissable, and unique experiences to fans across the region. We are delighted to be a Strategic Partner of AD Gaming and will be bringing four exciting new esports events to the AD Gaming platform this year as we look to diversify our content offering to our fans and support the launch of AD Gaming into the market.”

AD Gaming will launch with a one-stop-shop website for the gaming community including an esports events calendar, a directory for game studios and companies that are based in Abu Dhabi. AD Gaming will also have a dedicated twitch channel which will showcase Abu Dhabi’s gaming talent.

[1] Source: Newzoo Global Games Market Report, May 2020
[2] Source: Mordor Intelligence Report, 2020

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