GameExpo Summit 2024 supercharges gaming and esports in the region

GameExpo Summit 2024 supercharges gaming and esports in the region

Dubai’s leading international games conference, GameExpo Summit powered by Pocket Gamer Connects, welcomed more than 1,500 industry experts and gaming professionals to explore opportunities in springboarding the growth of gaming and esports across the region.

Hosted as part of the Dubai Esports and Games Festival (DEF) 2024 organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), the two-day business conference returned for its second edition to examine current trends, innovative technologies, and thriving opportunities in the ever-evolving global gaming landscape.

Interactive sessions throughout the two days of the Summit explored latest developments in gaming, with topics spanning 10 themed tracks. Discussions covered growth opportunities in an emerging market, guides to taking advantage of new technologies like AI and Web3, the latest trends and techniques in development and monetisation, as well as an essential update on the growth and potential of the MENA market. A unique workshop was also organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Economy, exploring business and legal issues pertaining to intellectual property and video games.

Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Muaini, Assistant Undersecretary for the Intellectual Property Sector, Ministry of Economy commented, “The gaming industry is a significant part of our economy’s growth, integrating technology with art, and we aim to transform the UAE into a global hub for creative and talented individuals.”

Hadi Badri, CEO of Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEDC), said: “Dubai has rapidly become a major gaming and esports hub, and from start-ups to multinationals, businesses are choosing the city to accelerate their growth. By investing in the right infrastructure, the city is creating an environment conducive to innovation, creativity, and technological development. The successful hosting of GameExpo Summit 2024 has added further momentum, allowing us to reach a highly-engaged audience and showcase Dubai’s commitment to growing the sector. In line with the goals of the Dubai Program for Gaming 2033, to position Dubai among the top 10 cities in the global gaming industry, we are committed to offering a secure and dynamic environment for entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world, and fostering a climate where innovative ideas and ventures can flourish.”

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE), added: “The GameExpo Summit 2024 marked an important milestone in our journey to elevate esports and gaming in the UAE. Nurturing this growing community and driving long-term investment into this sector remains a key focus for us, guiding our efforts to bolster Dubai’s position as a global gaming hub. We are thrilled to have facilitated crucial discussions amongst industry leaders, government entities, and renowned gaming brands, while providing a robust knowledge-building and networking platform for businesses from across the region. Amidst a fast-developing industry and a growing gaming consumer base, the Summit marked inspiring progress in driving investment in an evolving ecosystem, while cultivating the next generation of games businesses in the region.”

A range of activities and talks included inspiring keynote speeches, insightful panel discussions, expert workshops, fringe events, and vibrant networking sessions. A dedicated expo area, titled The Very Big Indie Pitch, enabled developers to receive real-time feedback from potential publishers and identify new market opportunities, while providing attendees with a unique opportunity to explore the latest innovations, activations, and exhibitions from global game developers. Meet to Match facilitated more than 2,000 meetings between publishers, platforms, brands, and industry experts. The Big Indie Zone pitching competition provided a valuable platform for indie developers to showcase their game ideas and designs to the industry’s decision makers. A series of Investor Connector meetings enabled more than 35 investors and indie developers to explore funding and investment opportunities.

Fostering local gaming talent and empowering entrepreneurship within the industry, the Dubai Games Creators crowdfunding platform by Dubai Next invited Dubai-based startups to submit requests for funding support from community members, private companies, and governmental agencies. The winning title was awarded to Emirati indie developer Hamad Khoory, who received a cash prize of USD 10,000 to further develop his “Yowlah Masters” gaming idea.

In a thrilling showcase of the sector’s top talents, the inaugural edition of the MENA Games Industry Awards honoured regional businesses and individuals across 13 categories. Presented by Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE), the awards celebrated individuals, developers, publishers, as well as advertising and monetisation companies who have successfully propelled the MENA games industry forward.

 

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