The entities are also working on a series of television shows and films that will be announced soon.
MBC Group and Neom have signed a joint venture agreement to establish the first AAA games development studio in the region.
Currently being incubated with developers from all over the world, the studio will relocate to Neom’s media hub next year and aims to produce high-production-value games for local, regional and international gamers.
The partnership highlights Neom’s push to create a new centre for the region’s media and creative industries by establishing a physically and technologically integrated creative media hub focused on screen production, gaming and digital publishing.
MBC Group is leading the development of new media industries with an aim to further diversify the Saudi economy, while providing career paths for future generations. The gaming studio will create opportunities for Saudi Arabia and regional gamers and developers seeking to build a career in the industry.
Further to the core studio disciplines of game design, programming, art and audio production, the studio is expected to create significant job opportunities across many directly linked industries inclusive of distribution, marketing, publishing and supporting services, the entities said in a joint statement.
Commenting on the partnership, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of Neom said: “The future that Neom envisions is being achieved through effective partnerships with various specialised entities. This is reflected in our agreement with MBC to establish a AAA gaming studio in Neom. We know there is a growing convergence between gaming and the media sector more broadly, so by building one we are helping the other grow. Establishing this studio creates future-proof career paths and job opportunities in an environment that fosters creativity, entrepreneurship and talent development, in line with Saudi Vision 2030. We are now developing promising opportunities locally, regionally and globally by nurturing the Saudi game-development market.”
Waleed Al Ibrahim, MBC Group Chairman, said: “Our partnership with Neom unlocks new opportunities in the region’s media industry, which will enable Saudi Arabia to emerge as a leading global media hub. MBC will put all of its expertise behind this project to become an economic and technical incubator for a new generation of media talent, in keeping with the Kingdom’s efforts to support all aspects of the industry.”
Although the size of the gaming market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) reached $6bn in 2021, the region currently makes few contributions to gaming development globally, underscoring the potential for this new gaming studio in Neom to develop the sector in Saudi Arabia.
The partnership between Neom and MBC is a continuation of their collaboration across the media sector, in parallel with Saudi Arabia’s focus on supporting the media and production industry. Both organisations are working on a series of well-known television shows and films that will be announced soon. This follows their collaboration on the production of the major Hollywood film titled Desert Warrior in 2021.