Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, on Thursday launched a new initiative that aims to position Dubai among the top 10 cities in the global gaming industry and generate 30,000 new jobs in the sector in the next 10 years.
The initiative, Dubai Programme for Gaming 2033, also aims to boost the sector's contribution to the emirate’s gross domestic product to nearly $1 billion by 2033, Dubai Government Media Office said in a statement.
It will offer support to developers, designers and programmers, as well as entrepreneurs and start-ups in creative industries.
The new initiative aims to “establish an incubating environment for developers and to draw leading technology companies from across the globe, particularly those specialising in digital content and experiences”, Sheikh Hamdan said.
“Dubai is well positioned to tap into the vast opportunities within the gaming sector, which is estimated at approximately $200 billion globally,” he added.
“We are strategically positioned to contribute to the advancement of emerging trends like VR and AI [virtual reality and artificial intelligence], elevating them to provide even more immersive and realistic experiences.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE – the Arab world’s biggest economies – are at the forefront of the gaming industry in the Middle East, with their governments recognising the massive potential the growing market possesses, Boston Consulting Group said in its latest Game Changer report.
Revenue in the global gaming market is projected to hit $212.4 billion by 2026, market data platform Newzoo said in its August market update.
That figure would be more than 13 per cent higher from an estimated $187.7 billion in 2023, which represents a 2.6 per cent increase from 2022, as gaming “is now fully embedded in the mainstream”, it said.
Overseen by the Dubai Future Foundation, the emirate’s new gaming programme will focus on three main areas – talent, content and technology.
It will bring together digital content creators and provide training and job opportunities in partnership with international companies, universities and academic institutions. It will also support entrepreneurs and innovators, and launch specialised educational and training programmes.
On Thursday, Sheikh Hamdan also approved the launch of another three new initiatives: the Metaverse Alliance, Metaverse Guidelines and Metaverse Pioneers as part of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy.
The metaverse is the emerging space where people, represented by avatars or three-dimensional representations, can interact in virtual worlds.
It is part of Web3, the next evolutionary step of the internet, with blockchain, decentralisation, openness and greater user utility among its core components.
Dubai and other emirates have taken a number of steps to integrate the metaverse into the UAE's economy and society.
In July last year, Dubai unveiled the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, which aims to create 40,000 virtual jobs and add $4 billion to the emirate's economy over the next five years.