DEAD SEA - With Jordanian companies developing 70 per cent of the Arab world’s online and mobile games, industry leaders on Saturday said well-trained IT university graduates are crucial to further growth in the sector.
Predicting a boom in the local and regional gaming industry in the next two years, the industry leaders said increasing Internet and mobile penetration are the main drivers for growth among local gaming companies.
“Jordan has what it takes to be a hub in the Middle East for the gaming industry. It’s only a matter of time. To speed up the sector’s growth, universities should focus more on the quality and skills of IT graduates because this is a major challenge that we face,” Mahmoud Khasawneh, founder and CEO of the interactive entertainment services company Quirkat, told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the Jordan Gaming Summit 2011 at the Dead Sea yesterday.
“Jordanian gaming firms are well-placed to increase their share in the online and mobile game market in the Arab world… but our companies constantly face a shortage of skilled graduates and resort to hiring non-Jordanians from France, the US, India and elsewhere,” said.
Muhannad Ebwini, CEO of Gate2Play, agreed.
“Updating curricula at universities is crucial to facilitating the gaming companies’ mission in headhunting for the best students. We already have the know-how to continue to lead in the industry but we need a suitable supply of well-trained graduates to sustain our position,” he told The Jordan Times during the summit.
The experts said the potential for local gaming companies to penetrate new markets in the region and abroad is “huge”, citing the large and growing demand for online and mobile games in Jordan and the rest of the Arab world, where the majority of the population is young.
According to Jordan Gaming Task Force Chairman Nour Khrais, online and mobile gaming revenues in the Arab world reached about $450 million in 2010, while the volume of the gaming market in the Arab world including investments and advertising exceeds $1 billion.
Ebwini said the rise in the number of smartphone and tablet users is likely to increase the number of gamers in the near future.
“I think 2012 will witness a leap in the number of users of online and mobile games in the Arab world,” he said Saturday.