'Culturalization' of online games leads to rapid growth of gaming in the Middle East

The Middle Eastern online video game market contributed $1 billion to the global market last year and this number looks to keep rising thanks to the 'culturalization' of online Arabic games, according to Game Power 7 CEO Fadi Mujahid.

Game Power 7 is a publisher in the Middle East that localizes video games in more ways than just translating the language. Its focus is on Arabic-speaking countries in the region like the United Arab Emirates. One of its key roles is to design new clothes for the characters in games so that they are suitable with the culture of the region in which the game is being played.

Mujahid says that Game Power 7 is in the business of 'culturalizing' games to make them culturally relevant to the Arabic-speaking market, and that his has led to a rapid growth in the number of people in Arabic-speaking countries playing games.

Mujahid tells AmeInfo that the focus on making games culturally relevant has allowed players to better relate to the games.

"We modify characters by replacing clothing which is inappropriate and designing garments for characters which are more suited to the region," he says. "We have also eliminated religious signs of any sort. All references to consuming alcohol, smoking are also removed.

"We modified everything in the games so that all religious matters are respected. For instance in the international game of Allods there exists three characters which are known as Gods. We have removed this term and called them kings."

The Middle East is one of the fastest growing online gaming markets in the world. AmeInfo reports that the average annual spend on video games in the region is between $750 million and $1 billion.

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