Dubai: Just a few months after announcing a deal with China’s Tencent Games, Dubai Internet City said it is eyeing the gaming industry for future growth. It is now in talks to bring in more gaming giants to the emirate.

Tencent Games will set up its Middle East and North African headquarters in Dubai.

Ammar Al Malik, managing director of Dubai Internet City, said there is “so much potential” for the gaming sector to grow in the region, driven by factors that include a sizeable young population and the introduction of 5G technology. “The global gaming market is [worth] roughly around $90 billion,” he said. “This region is around $1 billion only, which means that there is so much potential to grow.”

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According to research by NewZoo, revenues from games in the UAE alone are expected to reach Dh1.2 billion in 2019. And it’s not just the likes of Dubai Internet City that aim to capitalise on growth in this mini-universe. At Gitex Shopper last month, retailers and tech firms were highlighting a spike in demand for gaming laptops and other devices.

On Monday, at Gitex Technology Week, exhibitors were still focusing on gaming and the opportunities it brings on.

“Gaming as an industry around the world is becoming huge,” said Al Malik.

“Global technology companies are getting into gaming; Amazon [has] Twitch, Google announced Stadia, Apple has the gaming apps, Microsoft has Xbox, and I can go on and on about how the big technology companies have certain platforms in gaming,” Al Malik said.

He said that Dubai Internet City is working to develop the gaming ecosystem for the region, from attracting gaming giants like Tencent to having more data centres, coders, and hardware developers.

He pointed that gaming companies also see opportunities in the region, considering the scarcity of local content and Arabic content online.

“We announced earlier this year that Tencent will opening an office in Dubai Internet City, and the reason being that they want to develop content that is for the region. And they see the potential that is in the region.”