The city of Neom and media company MBC Group are teaming up to make a Saudi Arabian AAA game studio with the goal of creating high production value games.
Saudi Arabia is probably not the first country that comes to mind when you think of gaming, but some of its most influential people have been expanding into the medium. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that he was purchasing a hefty stake in SNK back in 2020. A few months later, he purchased $3.3 billion in shares in gaming companies.
While these investments are impressive, there's not much in the way of homegrown game development in Saudi Arabia. Now, two massive companies have announced a plan to make that happen in a big way.
Saudi Arabian AAA Game Studio Aims to Make Big-Budget Entertainment
GamesIndustry.biz reported on the partnership earlier today. This joint venture will see Neom and the MBC Group working together to form a Saudi Arabian AAA game studio.
Neom is a planned high-tech city in Saudi Arabia that is currently under construction and is expected to rapidly develop over the next decade. In terms of gaming, it is best-known for an esports deal with Riot Games that was quickly canceled following a wave of criticism. Some members of the public were concerned about allegations that Saudi Arabia was evicting members of the Huwaitat tribe from its traditional home in the northwestern area of the country.
The MBC Group is a media company that is majority-owned by the Saudi Arabian government. The company's holdings include several television channels and digital streaming, primarily targeting markets in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
These two companies will be working together to build a game development studio in the region, although it looks like this program is still in the early stages.
"We are kicking off a new era of creativity with @MBC_Group to establish the first AAA games development studio in the region - it will relocate to NEOM’s Media Hub in 2023 and produce high-production-value games for local, regional[,] and international gamers," read a tweet from Neom.
A name for this new game developer has not yet been revealed. The Saudi Arabian AAA game studio is currently recruiting developers from throughout the world. It does not yet have a physical location for its offices as far as I can tell, but they're planned to get set up with workspace in the media hub of the Neom smart city sometime in 2023.
What kind of games do you think this new developer will create? Do you think Saudi Arabia can grow as a tech hub over the next decade? Let us know in the comments below!