Girl gamer virtual reality headset
There has been a recent rise in female gamers, who have historically been underserved by the gaming community. Photo for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Unsplash/Barbara Zandova

Dubai: Female gamers have historically been underserved by the gaming community but a new wave of women gamers and dedicated platforms for them is bucking the trend in the region, a leading industry expert has said.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Matt Pickering, CEO of Power League Gaming (PLG), said the female gaming segment has crossed the 40 per cent mark of the Middle East and North African (MENA) gaming audiences.

“Through our insight that this segment was historically underserved by both brands, content, and experiences, we took the early step to develop IPs that specifically cater to female gamers... Our first step into developing specialised female gaming platforms was the development of Miss eSports, the region’s leading incubator and accelerator program for female gaming and eSports talent, which then expanded into the development of ‘female only’ eSports leagues,” added Pickering.

Matt Pickering said the majority of UAE youth identify themselves as gamers Image Credit: Supplied

“We have also recently launched a Saudi-focused female gaming platform, Saudi Girl Gamer, which will provide gaming content, experiences, and competitions to the Saudi female gaming community – a community that has behavioural characteristics which are mildly different from the wider MENA audiences.”

PLG describes itself as “Arabic First, meaning we actively seek to engage Arabic audiences”.

‘Most UAE youth are gamers’

According to research cited by Pickering, in the UAE, the majority (76 per cent) of youth (14 to 24 age range) identify themselves as gamers. “Engagement within this segment is consistently far more than the industry benchmark when compared to more traditional forms of entertainment and content, such as film or music,” the CEO added.

“The UAE is also one of the fastest growing countries for gaming in the world, with the rapid adoption of new tech and mobile penetration. The ecosystem for the youth of the UAE is prime in terms of accelerated growth potential, behaviour, and infrastructure.”

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Pickering said this rising community has spawned the constant need for upskilling in the fast-changing gaming technology. He added: “We are also heavily invested in directly upskilling the next generation of UAE gaming content creators and eSports professionals. We do this through our education platforms which we deliver through our education partners and education platforms...”

About Matt Pickering

Beginning his career in Europe and moving to Dubai later in 2008, Matt Pickering, CEO of Power League Gaming (PLG), comes from a career background having worked for Red Bull, TBWA and launching his own digital media agency, Air Media. In March 2020, Matt joined PLG as CEO and Partner, making the following 12 months PLG’s fastest period of growth, almost doubling the size of the business.