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Why Dubai? Learn more about the magnificent location of the Dubai GameExpo Summit!

Dive into Dubai and the growing games industry in the area ahead of our Summit on June 21-22.
Why Dubai? Learn more about the magnificent location of the Dubai GameExpo Summit!

Joining us in Dubai this summer? Tickets to our highly anticipated Dubai GameExpo Summit are now on sale. You can head over to this website and make the most of our Early Bird discount to secure your spot at the best price.

This June 21st to 22nd, we’re partnering up with Dubai Economy and Tourism to bring an unmissable games conference experience to the glorious city of Dubai, in the fastest growing region of the international games industry. The GameExpo Summit powered by PG Connects will take place over two days as part of the Dubai Esports and Games Festival event at the Dubai Exhibition Centre within Expo City Dubai. The summit itself will feature more than 100 renowned games industry speakers from all over the globe delivering insightful talks, panels and seminars across a number of themed tracks. You can look forward to the same type of invaluable learning and networking opportunities you’ve come to expect from Pocket Gamer Connects events, and today, we’re sharing a little bit more about why we’re headed to Dubai this summer.

Keep on reading to find out more about Dubai as an unparalleled destination and as a rising player in the world’s game industry arena.

Get to know Dubai
Dubai is now known to live and breathe a sense of immense possibility and innovation. Between its unparalleled coastline, beautiful desert and magnificent cityscapes, what was once a very small fishing village in the Arabian Gulf has now become one of the top innovative, cosmopolitan cities in the globe. Dubai is one of seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates and is home to three million people of over 200 diverse nationalities. You can find out more about this modern metropolis on Dubai Economy and Tourism’s official website including its rich history and further details on experiencing Dubai.

Gaming by the numbers in the UAE

As the games industry evolves, so does the masses’ general attitude towards gaming. According to Dubai Economy, recent advancements in gaming technology to tell more evocative stories, adapt to players’ individual decisions and have movie-quality impact through audiovisual design and immersive dialogue, are embedding gaming culture into Emiratis’ daily lives like never before. Access is easier than ever due to the prevalence, ease of availability and rising popularity in the free-to-play model with mobile games, and you can see it in the numbers when it comes to gamers in the UAE. Nine out of ten adults in the UAE play video games, and 90% of respondents in a Global Consumer Survey by Statista considered themselves gamers, with 23% identifying themselves as frequent players, meaning they play at least 11 hours per week.

In 2023, the UAE’s gaming market is projected to reach over 306 million USD. The UAE’s games industry touts an annual growth rate of over 5%, so by 2027, the projected market volume will reach over 372 million USD. The biggest contributor to this is the mobile gaming enjoyed by casual users, with this sector expected to reach a market volume of 176 million USD in 2023. When asked about the growth of the sector in the UAE, Emirati gaming content creator Omar Alali said he thinks “the results of the survey show that there is a huge interest in futuristic technology and creativity in the UAE.”

Building the future of games in the UAE
A big reason why the UAE is such a promising market to the games industry is due to the immense potential to localise, meaning to adapt a product or content to suit a specific market and thereby more directly engage and form close connections with those specific markets. Arabic is the fifth most spoken language worldwide, and there are countless ways to integrate iconic landmarks and locations from the region in games content. Dubai is at the forefront of leading the efforts to bring greater connectivity to the games industry and building immersive gaming experiences particularly tailored to the market here, having ranked as “the capital of Arab media” in both 2020 and 2021.

Dubai’s establishing itself as its very own emerging tech metropolis and it is uniquely positioned to present an access point to the UAE from the world at large due to being a global hub for tourism that embraces both Arabic and English languages. Although Dubai’s official language is Arabic, English is the most commonly spoken language due to the massive number of expats living in the area. If you want to get business done in the region with the least amount of struggling through language barriers, Dubai is the place to be for games industry professionals.

“Dubai is at the forefront of leading the efforts to bring greater connectivity to the games industry and building immersive gaming experiences particularly tailored to the market here, having ranked as “the capital of Arab media” in both 2020 and 2021.”

The Dubai Chamber is committed to embracing gaming as an important part of the future success of the tech industry in the area. Vice Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy Ahmad Bin Byat emphasised the numerous opportunities the Chamber is intent on creating for developers and gaming companies alike. “With an affluent, youthful, and gaming savvy population, the opportunities for local, global, and regional game developers is incredible. We need to work fast, decisively, and intelligently to create the right environment for all gaming sector companies to thrive. There’s no reason why Dubai cannot become a regional – if not global – gaming industry hub.”

In order to become a key global gaming industry location, Dubai has kicked off its efforts through the launch of the DMCC Gaming Centre in support of its growth as a key industry player in the global sphere in 2022. DMCC, the flagship free zone in the emirate, is currently home to more than 50 gaming companies, with everyone from game developers to esports teams present there. This is a vibrant centre for creatives in the games industry to work together in an innovative, collaborative community focused on getting business done. In 2022, DMCC partnered with global VC firm Brinc to provide its members with access to $150 million in funding through accelerator programmes that will also be available to DMCC Gaming Centre members focusing on developing games on blockchain and web3 technologies. The CEO of DMCC reaffirmed the Centre’s commitment to gaming by saying “As our roster of gaming companies expands rapidly and as we see more of our DMCC Crypto Centre members enter the blockchain gaming space, there is no better time to formalise our efforts by opening the DMCC Gaming Centre. Through this facility, we will solidify Dubai’s position as a global hub for all forms of gaming and esports.”

Explore the magnificent city of Dubai!
Dubai’s been ranked one of Best Cities in the world by the World’s Best Cities Report, and this is an unparalleled opportunity to make unforgettable memories and take your career to the next level in this glorious city. It’s the definition of a forward-gazing city that’s paving the way to the future. Whether you’re looking to “ride an elevator to the top of the world’s tallest building for a bird’s eye view”, take a dive into the deepest swimming pool in the entire world or make a bet in the most expensive horse race in the world, Dubai has something for you. The experiences this amazing city offers are second to none, and we’re thrilled to share with you today some suggestions on what to do in your leisure time here.

  • Step into one of the biggest malls in the world! The Dubai Mall is an unmissable and unforgettable location boasting over 1,200 retail outlets and 200 dining experiences to enjoy.
  • Step onto Burj Khalifa, one of the most iconic landmarks in Dubai and the tallest structure in the world at 160 storeys high. That’s right, the world! It’s also a development atop the Dubai Mall, so you can make a full day out of it! It’s highly popular, so it’s recommended you buy skip-the-line tickets ahead of time.
  • No better way to explore Dubai than to observe it sky-high! Zipline through the Dubai Marina either alone or with a buddy, and an installed camera available for purchase allows you to revisit the once-in-a-lifetime journey after.
  • Observe the iconic Dubai skyline and unwind at the same time by taking a dip in the world’s highest 360-degree infinity pool at the AURA Skypool. There’s delectable food and drink options, and you can enjoy them with an unbeatable view of the Arabian gulf.
  • For more ways to cool off during the summer, the world’s largest waterpark is located in Dubai, and the Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark is truly something you won’t want to miss. From going on the world’s tallest waterslide or sliding down a tube that goes through a shark-infested underwater lagoon, there’s no experience quite like this one anywhere else!
  • For even more underwater fun, you will want to check out The Lost Chambers Aquarium. It’s the largest Aquarium in all of the Middle East and Africa and over 65,000 marine animals call this place home. Take a journey through the long lost city of Atlantis and come across sharks, eels, seahorses and piranhas at this majestic attraction.
  • A must-see sight in Dubai is the imposing Jumeirah Mosque. Learn about Islamic culture by visiting one of Dubai’s most famous landmarks. Visitors of all faiths are welcome to visit the Mosque to learn about the Emirati way of life and the religion, and the stunning architecture and intricate art is absolutely stunning. If you plan to pay a visit, please remember to be respectful of the location and dress modestly, as it is a place of worship. You can learn more about etiquette and visiting here.
  • Visit where it all began for Dubai in Dubai Creek, the city’s historic commercial hub that’s like a flashback in Dubai’s history to its old town. You can explore the canal on an abra boat ride for just one dirham or even enjoy a cruise dinner if you plan ahead of time, or perhaps plan ahead to visit one of the many fabulous restaurants there. It’s a local favourite as well, so you can truly get immersed into the local culture here.

For more information on sights and attractions in the area including the most up-to-date information on what’s happening in Dubai, visit Dubai Economy and Tourism’s official website. You can find all the inspiration you need for your visit to Dubai here, and for further ideas on what you can do during your visit, take a look at their article on 99 things to do in Dubai.

Getting to Dubai
Now that you’re all registered for the Summit, how do you make sure that you’re set to travel to the UAE? Over 50 countries don’t actually require a pre-arranged visa to visit Dubai, but you’ll want to be certain you know what the visa process is like for you way ahead of visiting this summer. Here’s the rundown of what the process is for UK and American citizens –

If you’re travelling to Dubai from somewhere else, be sure to check your country’s visa requirements for travel to the UAE on the official Visit Dubai website. You can do so easily through entering your nationality details. The type of visa you’re looking for to join us for the Summit this summer will be a Tourist visa.

What’s the culture like in Dubai?

Discover the warm hospitality, rich culinary heritage and proud traditions that make up Dubai's vibrant culture. This information is directly sourced from Dubai Economy and Tourism’s official website, so for further detail on planning your trip, visit their official website.

Book your ticket now!

Join us in Dubai come summer for this incredible networking and learning opportunity. Buying a ticket to this Summit grants you full access to the wider Dubai Games & Esports Festival taking place over the week of June 21st to 25th, don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to join in on the gaming experience of a lifetime. You will want to plan ahead to make sure you get to make the most of the festival and visiting this incredible destination, so book your ticket now and secure the best deal possible via our official sales partner here. There is currently a limited time Early Bird discount available, so purchase your ticket as soon as you can for the best deal.

See you in Dubai!