Entrepreneur behind Call of Duty video game looks to open Saudi Arabia, UAE offices

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A US entrepreneur who helped create the famous video game Call of Duty hopes to expand his gaming company by opening offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE “within the next year.”

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The CEO of Los Angeles-based Mythical Games, John Linden, told Al Arabiya English that his company is in talks with government agencies in the Kingdom and the UAE.

“I’d say within the next year, we’ll probably try and put a physical opening [in the region] and start growing some teams,” Linden said.

“We’re seeing most of the growth right now, at least in entertainment media around Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” Linden explained, adding that he thinks anyone in the media and entertainment industry not “paying attention” to the region is going to be “left behind.”

Before he started Mythical Games in 2018, Linden worked at several gaming companies, including Activision, between 2013 and 2016, in which he – alongside four other companies – helped produce several of the Call of Duty games, including: Black Ops II and III, Ghosts and Advanced Warfare.

His current startup has around 320 employees and is a so-called a Unicorn – a startup valued at more than $1 billion. Linden said the company is worth around $1.2 billion, according to the latest valuation.

He hopes the region can help the company grow even further.

“We’re excited about the region. We’re excited about the opportunities and what can happen there,” he said. “I think we’re going to see an abundance of Western companies establish some type of foothold there.”

The Kingdom plans to expand the country’s gaming industry as part of its Vision 2030 which aims to boost industries in the country, including gaming and esports to diversify the economy.

In 2022, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) launched the Savvy Games Group, which acquired top eSports firms ESL Gaming and FACEIT.

In September of the same year, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced a plan to develop the country’s gaming and eSports industry to create 39,000 jobs and boost the GDP by $13.3 billion (50 billion riyals) by 2030.

The new National Gaming and Esports Strategy involves business incubators, new educational academies, and regulations intended to stimulate growth in the industry.

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