The Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, this month announced the launch of a new initiative that will add 30,000 new jobs to the gaming industry over the next 10 years.
Called the Dubai Programme for Gaming 2033, the initiative will provide support to developers, programmers, designers, and entrepreneurs within the gaming sector.
The project will aim to boost the gaming industry’s gross domestic product contribution to Dubai to almost $1 billion by 2033, while positioning Dubai among the top 10 cities in the world for gaming, according to the Dubai Government Media Office.
While the program will directly benefit Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, it will have a ripple effect across the globe, with experts in the iGaming industry such as Jeff Kitchen, author at OntarioGambling.online, well placed to analyze the changing trends it will undoubtedly influence.
“Dubai is well positioned to tap into the vast opportunities within the gaming sector, which is estimated at approximately $200 billion globally,” Sheikh Hamdan said.
“We are strategically positioned to contribute to the advancement of emerging trends like VR [virtual reality] and AI [artificial intelligence], elevating them to provide even more immersive and realistic experiences.”
Indeed, the global gaming market continues to trend upwards:
- According to market data platform Newzoo, the sector is projected to generate $212.4 billion by 2026.
- That is an increase of more than 13 percent on its estimated $187.7 billion in 2023.
- In the Middle East region alone, the gaming industry is projected to reach $6 billion by 2027, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre said in its Future of Trade 2023 report.
Middle East invests in gaming future
By focusing on three main areas – talent, technology, and content – the Dubai Programme for Gaming 2033 will provide the tools and environment to bring together digital content creators, while creating job opportunities and partnerships with established companies and universities.
Entrepreneurs and start-ups will also benefit from the initiative, while specialized training and education programs will be offered to Dubai’s citizens and residents.
The program will “establish an incubating environment for developers and to draw leading technology companies from across the globe, particularly those specializing in digital content and experiences,” Sheikh Hamdan added.
Alongside the UAE, Saudi Arabia is also leading the charge for innovation in the gaming industry, both in the Middle East region and globally.
As part of its proactive efforts to diversify its economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia continues to invest billions of dollars in sports and entertainment, including a $38 billion investment for the Savvy Games Group, owned by the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s de-facto leader, himself is an avid gamer.
Dubai Metaverse takes shape
In addition to announcing the plans for the Dubai Programme for Gaming 2033, the UAE’s Sheikh Hamdan also unveiled the launch of three new initiatives for Dubai’s Metaverse strategy: the Metaverse Alliance, Metaverse Guidelines and Metaverse Pioneers.
The Dubai Metaverse Strategy was first announced in November 2022 and is another key digital initiative aimed at boosting the emirate’s economy by adding a further 40,000 jobs.
Among the ways the Metaverse will be utilized include government services, while a study is underway to determine its social benefits.
“As we prepare for the metaverse world, a new digital future is being shaped by the UAE,” Sheikh Hamdan posted on X, formerly Twitter.
While the gaming industry is nothing new, its explosion into the mainstream coincided with the digital age, and by 2020 was the biggest earning media sector, with annual revenue in 2020 surpassing $165 billion.
Smartphones, social media gaming, and streaming have created a new frontier for the gaming industry in recent years, and with the development of VR and AI, the investments made by Dubai and other entities around the world are testament to its booming future.