MBC Group, NEOM to establish Middle East’s first AAA Games Studio in Saudi Arabia

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MBC Group and NEOM have signed an agreement to jointly establish an AAA games development studio in Saudi Arabia, making it the first studio of its kind in Middle East, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The studio will relocate to NEOM’s Media Hub in 2023 and “produce high-production-value games for local, regional and international gamers,” the SPA report stated.

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NEOM is a smart city in the Kingdom’s Tabuk province, located in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, powered by clean energy and interconnected technology. The futuristic development confronts issues that are usually dealt with in major cities across the world such as traffic and pollution by prioritizing clean energy, walkability and technology to create a more sustainable way of living.

MBC Group has been leading the development of new media industries that are set to further diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and provide future generation with an array of exciting careers.

“Our partnership with NEOM unlocks new opportunities in the region’s media industry, which will enable Saudi Arabia to emerge as a leading global media hub,” MBC Group Chairman Sheikh Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim said.

MBC will put all of its expertise behind this project to become an economic and technical incubator for a new generation of media talent, in keeping with the Kingdom’s efforts to support all aspects of the industry,” he added.

The new gaming studio is set to not only attract foreign talent to the Kingdom but will also create opportunities for Saudi and regional gamers and game developers to build a career in the gaming industry.

“The studio is expected to create significant job opportunities across many directly linked industries” such as game design, programming, marketing, publishing, and art and audio production, according to SPA.

“The future that NEOM envisions is being achieved through effective partnerships with various specialized entities. This is reflected in our agreement with MBC to establish a AAA gaming studio in NEOM,” said NEOM CEP Nadhmi al-Nasr.

By establishing a physically and technologically integrated center focused on gaming, digital publishing and screen production, the new partnership highlights NEOM’s push to create a media hub for the region’s creative industries.

“We know there is a growing convergence between gaming and the media sector more broadly, so by building one we are helping the other grow. Establishing this studio creates future-proof career paths and job opportunities in an environment that fosters creativity, entrepreneurship and talent development, in line with Saudi Vision 2030,” he added.

While the region’s gaming market size reached $6 billion in 2021, few contributions have been made to the development of the gaming industry globally. The new partnership underscores the potential for the new NEOM-based gaming studio to further develop the sector in Saudi.

NEOM and MBC Group have collaborated on many projects across the Kingdom’s media sector and developing the first AAA gaming studio in the region is a continuation of that partnership.

“We are now developing promising opportunities locally, regionally and globally by nurturing the Saudi game-development market,” al-Nasr said.

Both organizations are working on a variety of television shows and films which will be announced soon.

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