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Kingdom can become regional hub for digital gaming — industry insiders

By Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 18,2015 - Last updated at Oct 18,2015

AMMAN — Experts and industry insiders on Saturday highlighted Jordan’s potential as a regional hub for the digital gaming industry whose global revenues are expected to reach $65 billion by 2016.

At the fifth Jordan Gaming Summit 2015, the experts said Jordan enjoys the necessary human resources for the advancement of the industry, which they said is one of the fastest-growing industries internationally.

The summit, held by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD) under the theme “How to Grow”, attracted more than 500 developers, programmers, industry stakeholders, experts, and school and university students. 

At the opening of the summit, KAFD Director Saeb Al Hassan said the fund, under Royal directives, pays special attention to empowering youths and providing them with new opportunities through partnerships with the private sector in several areas, especially when it comes to ICT, which is the largest growing sector in the national economy.

Hassan emphasised that the summit provides young people with an opportunity to exchange ideas, expertise and experiences, and explore opportunities to turn their ideas into income-generating projects in one of the fastest-growing industries globally in terms of revenues and technological development.

He added that holding the Jordan Gaming Summit annually provides young people with an opportunity to come together to build a Jordanian digital gaming sector that penetrates international markets and makes Jordan a hub for this promising industry, especially since the Kingdom boasts talented, innovative and capable human resources.

The KAFD director noted that a true testimony to the fund’s commitment in this regard is the Jordan Gaming Lab, which is one of the fund’s programmes.

The lab provided more than 4,000 young Jordanians, aged eight years and above, with an opportunity to learn the basics of designing and developing digital games, he said.

Nour Khrais, chairman of the Jordan Gaming Taskforce which is one of KAFD’s programmes, said revenues of digital games are expected to reach $65 billion by 2016, which is three times higher than the volume in 2011.

Khrais attributed the rise to the increase in smartphone and Internet penetration, the opening of new markets in Africa and Asia, and the establishment of a large number of small-sized companies in the industry.

“In spite of the limited resources in Jordan, the Kingdom is rich in innovative and talented human resources whom we trust of being able to make Jordan a regional hub for gaming development in the Middle East,” said Khrais.

In a session at the summit, Marian Stukoff, head of PlayStation First at Sony, said the Middle East is one of the largest consumer markets in terms of console games.

She said developers in Jordan have the chance to enhance their skills and receive training and assistance from Sony by applying to www.sce.dev.net to become registered PlayStation developers.

Stukoff stressed that Sony is keen on supporting Jordanian developers and providing them with the necessary tools in this regard.

 

On the sidelines of the summit, which concludes Sunday, an exhibition is showcasing Jordanian digital gaming start-ups and indie developers.

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