Maysalward, the Middle Eastern mobile games studio behind Treasure Run Egypt, Planet Quest, French Belote and more, has now teamed up with NEOM to launch an exciting new pilot programme within Saudi Arabia entitled the NEOM Game Dev Challenge in the region.
The aim of the challenge is to empower "the next generation of game developers in the Kingdom", with Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh starting things off. The pool of talent within Saudi Arabia is vast, and this programme in particular aims to extend a helping hand to younger developers: students aged 15 to 17.
Finding the best
Nour Khrais [right in our picture, alongside Toby Evan-Jones executive director and head of gaming, NEOM] founded Maysalward in 2003. The studio has since grown to be a vital part of the MENA region's increasing relevance within global gaming - leading innovation, supporting new talent and building a hefty games portfolio. Khrais’ studio placed among our very own Top 30 MENA Game Makers in 2022, and Khrais himself proceeded to win Mobile Game Legend at our Mobile Game Awards 2023.
The ambition for a new community in NEOM aligns with Maysalward’s support and commitment to innovation and education within the region. The Game Dev Challenge will provide an active chance for students to get some hands-on experience with the mobile gaming industry, beginning their journey through design, development and more while receiving mentorship from Maysalward.
After an award ceremony scheduled for December, the winning team’s school will be gifted a NEOM Gaming Mini-Lab containing both hardware and software enabling further work on gaming projects.
"Partnering with NEOM for this transformative initiative is a significant step. Our shared vision is to empower the next generation of game developers in Saudi Arabia. With the rapid growth of mobile phone ownership among the youth, now is the opportune moment to harness and nurture their potential," said Khrais. "I’m personally thrilled to be a part of kickstarting this groundbreaking project in Saudi Arabia."
NEOM managing director of media industries, entertainment, and culture Wayne Borg added: "Our partnership with Maysalward highlights NEOM’s commitment to nurturing youth and fostering digital innovation in Saudi Arabia. The NEOM Game Dev Challenge aims to spark transformation, fueling the creativity of the Kingdom’s young talents and driving our mission to become an elite global media hub for game development."
MENA: The world's fastest-growing games market
As the world's fastest-growing games market, the MENA region is certainly one to watch going forward. Like most emerging markets, MENA is very much mobile-first in revenue, with more than 65% coming from the platform. Mobile users in the region are ravenously consuming new apps and games too, downloading more than 26,200 apps per minute.
It's the place where investors are connecting, young audiences are full of enthusiasm, and where games mark the gateway for social change and our upcoming event PG Connects Jordan (November 4th-5th) offers a great way to get a first taste of the region and meet regional talent within the confines of our familiar two-day conference format.
This much-loved Jordan conference also offers a chance to see one of the modern wonders of the world at Petra and enjoy a dip in the Dead Sea along with catching some much-needed winter sun. Flight connections are easy, and tickets are still available with discounts.
Meanwhile, for those of a C-Level persuasion, we will also have our 2023 Leaders Summit, this year taking place against the emerging backdrop of NEOM, Saudi Arabia, in early December. Details will be announced soon, so sign up to find out more here.