Why attend MEGA 2016?
To promote and help expand the regional gaming industry, IFP on April 7 and 8, 2016, organized the MENA Games Conference (MEGA 2016) at Mar Mikhael Historical Train Station – Beirut, Lebanon.
MEGA 2016 offers a unique platform for regional and international players to explore business opportunities in what is widely regarded as a highly promising market.
800 firms working in a variety of fields from game developing and publishing to infrastructure providing, financing and online advertising gave “act de presence” at MEGA 2016.
In addition, a world-class conference hosted more than 50 speakers who discussed the future of gaming and IT in the region.
Arabic Game Jam
Prior to this event, the Arabic Game Jam was held on April 5 and 8, 2016. For its second edition in Beirut, the Arabic Game Jam was back to challenge the best game development teams from the Middle East & North Africa region to create an Arabic Game in 48 hours.
It offered a unique opportunity to create games, meet developers and make new best friends during a fun weekend in the vibrant city of Beirut.
Arabic Game Jam is the primary vehicle in the region for the next generation of game developers. A chance to steal the limelight! Participants consist of a mix of industry veterans, indie developers and students of all ages.
4 Tunisian Teams participated in the Arabic Game Jam this year;
1- Dream Team (Marouen Khadhar, Moez Karoui and Jedidi Jedidi) selected in the Orange Summer Challenge and sponsored By Orange Tunisie.
2- New Folder (2) (Emine Essid, Ahmed Benlakhdhar, Brahim Jomni and Soumaya Tekaya) sponsored by ESPRIT Mobile.
3- PEWPEW (Ahmed Ben Chedli and Mohamed Harbaoui) selected in the Global Game Jam Tunisia 2016.
4- Wololo Studio (Hedi MEJRI, Marwen Ounis, Mahmoud Amri, Med Hedi Friha and Faycel Mrabet) an emerging Tunisian Indie Game Dev Studio.
This Year’s theme was a poem verse by Abou el Kacem Chebbi stating:
من يتهيب صعود الجبال .. يعش ابد الدهر بين الحفر
Those who FEAR Climing the mountains will live forever in holes
The theme had not so many meanings and most of the teams saw some kind of Contrast (Mountain/Hole, Light/Dark, etc.) and also a certain Sermon (Life is about taking risks in order to fulfill certain dreams).
The 48H Competition was tough and the Tunisian team Dream Team won the First Prize!
After last year’s success in winning Second Place, this year, The Tunisian teams proved that they were capable of winning this regional competition.
Congratulations to the Winners and hard luck for the other teams!
The MENA & Turkish Game Markets
A lot of buzz has been generated about the video game market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, since it is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, earning over $100 million in revenue from online gaming alone.
The MENA region has the highest compound annual growth rate compared to all other regions in the world, it is considered a “gold rush” for the games industry, currently at an expected annual growth rate of 29%.
As in other emerging markets, MENA has one of the largest populations of young people in the world. In addition, internet penetration rates make the region particularly attractive, which is higher than the global average.
Since experts cite the MENA/Turkey region as one of the key emerging markets in the world, game developers and publishers have been eyeing this region for some time – Ubisoft opened an office in Abu Dhabi and other global developers make it a point to engage with local game developers at the Dubai World Game Expo.
According to these local developers, there is significant opportunity in the Middle East/North Africa and Turkey region, as long as games are culturalized for the region.
Enticing Statistics & the Key to Success in MENA and Turkey
The MENA region is reported by many experts to be the leading emerging market for video game consumption in the world.
The Middle East and Africa actually monetize better than many other regions, with local player Peak Games stating that Arab Gulf countries have among the world’s highest average daily revenue per user.
This success wasn’t achieved solely through the use of key languages (such as Arabic and Turkish) but was also achieved through a close understanding of cultural nuances and the creation of games specifically for the market. Such tailored localization is critical for regions like MENA and Turkey, where the success of a game is frequently dependent on making players feel as though the game was made for them.
Increasing need of Investment
As more global video game companies target the MENA/Turkey region, investment is expected to increase in the coming years, fostering significant growth for the Middle East’s game production industry. There is significant demand for games, but right now, only a handful of small developers create games that appeal to the region – integrating distinctly Arab elements that appeal to the Arab world and monetize well.
Hedi MEJRI (c) 2016