The Middle East gaming market size is estimated approximately at $1BN in terms of revenue across software and hardware sales, as well as online subscriptions and micro-transactions. The growth is estimated at 10% year-on-year. Over the past year the gaming sector in the Middle East has gone through a major shift. It has seen the split of some of its most successful teams, like Birdy Nam Nam, to the closure of a few main players like Quirkat.
However this doesn’t discourage developers to launch new gaming companies that are experimenting in the space. Gameguise is one such company which is keen to bring an international experience for gamers in the region as well as export the unique flavour of Middle Eastern content over to the rest of the world.
Gameguise Co-Founder, Amir-Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh, claims that the company is the first games developer based out of Dubai. He, along with Co-Founder Hossein Jalali, are currently working on the release of Seven Quests, Gameguise’s first gaming title. It’s an massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game (MMORTS), which also has RPG elements and is initially iOS-based. The theme is based on the 1,000 year old Persian epic poem, the Shahnameh (“The Epic of the Kings”) by Ferdowsi. The central mythological hero, akin to Hercules, is Rostam.
The company has partnered with Falafel Games, headquartered in Hangzhou, China, in order to use their popular gaming engine and redesign it to the characters, storyboard, and universe of the Shahnameh. Gameguise is initially targeting gamers in the Middle East along with the Iranian diaspora that is spread across the world, and plans to roll it out to Western and Latin American markets.
“One of our primary aims is to release online games that serve as a vehicle to spread Middle Eastern tales and history to the rest of the world, as a means to share rich content that has endured for centuries”, says Bozorgzadeh.
Gameguise will also be launching a full-fledged gaming portal in April 2014, specifically tailored to the Middle East. It will serve as a new channel for publishing international gaming titles that are localised for an Arabic audience, equipped with a full-range of gamification elements to engage users.