Sandsoft, the mobile-first game developer, publisher and investor has announced the opening of Sandsoft Riyadh, a mobile games development studio situated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
The new studio will create over 80 career opportunities in the region and marks the first step in Sandsoft's investment into the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) gaming ecosystem. The Riyadh studio will be led by Yahsir Qureshi, who has gained over a decade of experience within the games industry working on successful triple-A and free-to-play titles.
The new studio is intended to act as a worldwide headquarters for Sandsoft and will support a first-of-its-kind paid internship program in the MENA region to nourish local talent. The internship, Press Start, will launch this year targeting passionate emerging KSA talent who are looking to enter the global games industry. This program will allow a select group of game creators to develop their own titles with guidance from Sandsoft's experienced industry figures and gain access to company resources, whilst maintaining the autonomy to decide what type of games they wish to develop.
Mr. Abdulaziz Alajlan, managing director of Sandsoft commented on the new studio saying “Sandsoft Riyadh will contribute to making Saudi Arabia a global gaming powerhouse, in alignment with the national strategy for games and esports that His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently launched, as a pivotal and important step to start a new phase for this sector, following Kingdom's Vision 2030. Sandsoft's studio in Riyadh will be an important part of this vision by identifying and upskilling MENA talent, and combining it with the very best of global games industry expertise to create an international gaming dream team across development, publishing, and investment.”
Mobile gaming is growing rapidly across the MENA region, with 434 million mobile gamers making up 15% of the global player base and showing potential for further growth. Investment in the KSA games industry is important for Sandsoft as they are aligned with the government-backed initiative Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy and create career opportunities for future generations.
David Fernandez, CEO at Sandsoft, also commented about the expansion stating “We have established a world-class mobile gaming team that's poised to position Sandsoft as the premier MENA games company, and we’re excited to be expanding our local footprint. A key mission is to discover and attract the best and brightest local game development talent, and to nurture it with the expertise of leaders from gaming’s top international firms.”
This November companies and industry figures will be meeting at Pocket Gamer Connects Jordan and the PGC Leaders Summit Riyadh. We also recently interviewed Joseph Azzam to discuss the potential of the Middle East market.