Saudi MISA Collaborates with Wemade to Foster Gaming and Blockchain Sectors

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment has signed an initial agreement with South Korean video game developer Wemade to boost the growth of gaming and blockchain industries in the kingdom.

The agreement followed Wemade’s participation in the Saudi-Korea Investment Forum in Seoul in November, where it held meetings with the kingdom’s Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih and other Saudi officials.

“We are very excited for Wemade’s progress in expanding its activities in Saudi Arabia and are looking forward to continuing supporting Wemade’s footprint through connecting it to strategic partners in the sector,” a representative from the Ministry of Investment in Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday.

“This progress is yet another step further into realizing the national objective of becoming a hub for gaming and e-sports in line with the national gaming and e-sports strategy,” the representative added.

The Saudi ministry has been teaming up with international companies to streamline investment and expansion initiatives in Saudi Arabia. As part of the kingdom’s 2030 Vision that focuses on diversifying the country’s energy-based economy, the ministry aims to facilitate business opportunities for foreign entities.

In February, Wemade also teamed up with Public Investment Fund-backed Savvy Games’ Nine66. The entities are exploring various initiatives aimed at training, producing educational content, localization of games and sponsoring regional events.

“As the demand for games and blockchain technologies continues to grow in Saudi Arabia, we are committed to showcasing our capabilities and delivering innovative solutions that meet their needs,” Charles Huh, global investment officer at Wemade, told The National.

“We believe that our partnership with the Saudi ministry will not only benefit both parties but will also create new opportunities in the global game industry.”

Founded in 2000, Wemade is behind the blockchain gaming platform Wemix and the Legend of Mir series video games that have attracted millions of users globally.

Blockchain technology has created a new gaming experience for both businesses and players who use non-fungible tokens and digital currencies to buy in-game assets that could be exchanged for real-life money.

The gaming industry in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, is poised to grow 250 per cent by 2030, with e-sports leading the growth, a recent study from YouGov found.

The growth would mean that its contribution to Saudi Arabia’s GDP will have surged about 50 times by 2030 compared with 2022, the London-based market research company said.

In February, the kingdom’s gaming industry received new funding worth $488 million. The Saudi Esports Federation, the National Development Fund and the Social Development Bank provided the financing.

Moreover, this month, Savvy Games announced to buy California-based game developer and publisher Scopely for $4.9 billion.

Gaming consumption in the kingdom is projected to hit $6.8 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual rate of 22 per cent, the Boston Consulting Group said in a recent report.

It is important to note that Seoul-based Wemade established its Middle East headquarters in Abu Dhabi in January to focus on the region.

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