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"Operating a studio in MENA involves tough challenges: Cultural diversity, localisation, payment infrastructure and talent acquisition"

Jana Games Studio founder Seifeddine Wassim Haddar on the state of play for MENA and importance of community building
  • "Our priority is the player experience, so every design decision is made with the player in mind"

As the games industry in MENA continues to grow, several local companies are playing their respective roles in shaping the region's gaming ecosystem, including developers like Jana Games Studio.

To gain insights into the future of gaming in MENA, we spoke with Seifeddine Wassim Haddar, founder of the Algerian company, who shares his vision for the industry's growth in the coming years, highlights Jana Games Studio's current projects, and what to expect from the team in 2024.


PocketGamer.Biz: Tell us a bit about Jana Games Studio and what you’re up to right now?

Seifeddine Wassim: Jana Games Studios has been committed for a decade to crafting captivating gaming experiences and is considered one of the pioneers in the gaming industry here in Algeria.

Our current focus is on our upcoming multiplayer project Shadowstalk.

What makes your games "boundary-less, experiential, and inspiring"?

We don't limit ourselves to specific genres but instead we explore and blend elements from various genres. Our priority is the player experience, so every design decision is made with the player in mind.

We dedicate our time to create challenging and complex emotions that evolve throughout the game, as we aim to connect with players on a deeper level. 

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Jana Games is described as not just a studio, but a community. Can you elaborate on what this means and how you foster community?

The community actively participates in the game development process where their feedback ideas and suggestions are highly valued.

We prioritise genuine connections to engage and appreciate the people who love games. This approach is crucial for discovering new ideas and that's what we love about this creative industry, and we trust our community to help us shape better games.

“This approach is crucial for discovering new ideas and that's what we love about this creative industry, and we trust our community to help us shape better games.”
Seifeddine Wassim Haddar

With more than 10 games developed on both PC, web and mobile, what are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in the development process?

We encountered challenges related to genre diversification, self-funding and the delicate balance of monetisation strategies.

We also navigated strict deadlines, tackled technical issues and continually learned from each experience to create better games.

Also, operating a game development studio in MENA involves tough challenges such as cultural diversity, localisation, payment infrastructure and talent acquisition to sustain growth. 

Your company has developed several mobile titles, yet they’re not available on platforms such as App Store or Play Store. Could you shed some light on this? 

Actually we have developed numerous mobile games ranging from educational to sports and entertainment genres and some of these games received very positive feedback across major platforms.

However, it's important to note that we don't own all the mobile projects we've worked on, and so we cannot take credit for some of them. 

What are you doing to foster collaboration and recruit local talent? And how have your games been received internationally outside the MENA region?

We foster collaboration by actively involving our players and aspiring developers in our journey through workshops, meetups and community engagement as we create a vibrant ecosystem where creativity thrives internationally.

Also, our games have resonated with players beyond the MENA region. The positive feedback we've received underscores our global impact as it motivates us to continue pushing boundaries.

What changes have you observed in the local games industry, particularly in terms of consumer behavior and market demands?

In our ongoing quest to enhance accessibility, we consider the language, culture and community feedback. These vital elements shape our locally consumed gaming experience.

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In terms of funding and support for gaming studios in the region, what has been your experience navigating the funding landscape?

Jana Games Studios being self funded has consistently relied on contract work to support our own projects.

While this approach can be challenging it demonstrates our resilience and commitment with time, patience and dedication. We are steadily progressing toward our goals. 

What are your plans for 2024? Will you be exploring new genres or platforms? And are there any specific initiatives or projects on the horizon that we should look forward to?

We will be focusing on Shadowstalk this year and our community is gathering to make the best out of it.

 Also, we’re experimenting with a VR adaptation for a game we made earlier this year. The future is looking promising and we’re looking forward to it!


Want more insights into the MENA games industry? Join us at Pocket Gamer Connects Jordan on November 9th and 10th, 2024 to hear from local leaders and experts about the hottest trends and discover why this region is the fastest growing games market in the world.

And don’t forget to keep up with all of our MENA market coverage right here on PocketGamer.biz for all the latest news and big interviews from the region.