Dubai, the largest city in the UAE and capital of one of the Seven Emirates that make up the country, has announced plans for a new economic development initiative. This scheme, purportedly valued at $8.7 trillion would be a massive undertaking to diversify the country’s economy, encouraging the growth of new industries and sectors, especially within Dubai itself. Dubai has long been a haunt of the super-rich, but this plan would seek to make it a global centre of trade, finance and business on par with other cities such as London or New York.
The plan mimics the similar ‘Vision 2030’ project undertaken by Saudi Arabia, who have a similar energy-based economy as the UAE. As the globe recovers from the economic turmoil in the wake of Covid-19, countries are seeking to capitalise and jump ahead in the economic race. This has resulted in investment into a number of sectors, including mobile gaming.
The land of sun and mobile
Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in the gaming industry. This investment has paid off, but it has also raised a few issues. Chief amongst them being that game development is still not feasible for many as a full-time job, limiting the domestic growth of the game industry. There is enthusiasm amongst the local populace, but not many opportunities to build a life based on game development. Although many of the country’s studios are mobile based, suggesting this sector is the way forward.
The UAE comparatively boasts a massive mobile audience, one which you could argue is ripe for domestic developers. The tangential benefits of this development plan would be to encourage a diversified economy beyond the focus on oil that has dominated the UAE. The increased presence and appeal of outside development talent would also help to boost this burgeoning industry as they see a chance to earn good money with their skills, passing them onto home-grown development teams.
Whatever the result, key to encouraging the growth of an industry like mobile gaming will be whether or not Dubai can encourage education and endorse the full-time employment of those seeking these roles.
In November, we discussed with observer Samer Abbas about how he believed the gaming industry in the MENA (Middle-East and North Africa) region would change in the coming years. Which may offer further insights into where the trajectory of Dubai is headed.