Saudi Arabia, driven by Vision 2030, is rapidly embracing blockchain gaming and Web3 technologies in an effort to move its economy away from oil dependence. With investments in emerging markets like gaming and the integration of cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain and AI, the nation aims to set a robust footprint on the global technological landscape.
Gaming: The New Economic Front
Saudi Arabia is showing an increased interest in gaming, particularly in the areas of blockchain and Web3. Yat Siu, co-founder of Animoca Brands, recently confirmed this trend. He mentioned that Saudi Arabia is actively collaborating with industry players such as The Sandbox and Animoca, and has a strong focus on Web3. Siu stated that Saudi Arabia believes in the future of Web3 gaming, where asset ownership can be verified on the blockchain.
Further, the tech-savvy younger generation of Saudi Arabia has been a significant driving force behind the booming gaming market in the Middle East. A report by Boston Consulting Group revealed that Saudi Arabia accounts for 45% of the region’s gaming sector, translating to a value of over $1.8 billion. The nation has also showcased impressive gaming revenues, as mentioned by the game content studio, Allcorrect.
Supporting the Gaming Ambition
In recognition of the potential in gaming, the Saudi Esports Federation was founded in 2017 to streamline and foster the gaming industry in the country. Bloomberg also highlighted Saudi Arabia’s commitment by reporting a whopping $38 billion investment via its Public Investment Fund, aiming to position the country as a global epicenter for gaming.
The Web3 Challenge and Potential
Although many are excited about Web3, it is unclear how the country will incorporate this technology into gaming because there are no clear regulations for cryptocurrency and virtual assets. Siu pointed out that the situation is different in countries like Hong Kong, Japan, and the UAE where the rules for crypto and Web3 are well-established. Siu believes that more clarity is needed.
However, Siu remains optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s intent. The nation’s active engagement in understanding best practices and learning from market leaders suggests a clear intention. “The desire for progress and leadership in Saudi Arabia is palpable and somewhat unique,” Siu concluded.