Saudi Arabia’s Digital Renaissance: From Oil to Web3 and Gaming


Saudi Arabia, driven by its ambitious Vision 2030, is making significant strides in diversifying its economy away from oil dependency. Embracing emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) and venturing into thriving markets like gaming, the kingdom is taking bold steps towards a digital renaissance.

The Middle East's Gaming Hub: 

Thanks to its young and tech-savvy population, Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of driving the Middle East's gaming market, alongside the United Arab Emirates. A Boston Consulting Group report reveals that the kingdom commands a staggering 45% share of the regional gaming sector, valued at over $1.8 billion. Its game revenues also rank among the highest in the region, according to game content studio Allcorrect.

Saudi Arabia established the Saudi Esports Federation in 2017 to regulate and foster its gaming industry. In a resounding endorsement of its gaming aspirations, Bloomberg reported a $38 billion investment by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund in the sector, aiming to transform the kingdom into a global gaming hub.

Web3 and Gaming Synergy: 

Web3 experts suggest that Saudi Arabia's interest in Web3 technology is on the rise. Collaborations with entities like The Sandbox and Animoca Brands reflect the kingdom's eagerness to explore the new frontier of the internet.

Yat Siu, co-founder of Animoca Brands, emphasizes that Web3 gaming, characterized by blockchain integration that enables true ownership of in-game assets, is poised to shape the future of gaming. He sees Saudi Arabia as a forward-thinking player in this arena.

Cryptocurrency Exploration: 

While Saudi Arabia comprehends the high-level concept of Web3 and its alignment with esports, the integration of cryptocurrency and virtual assets remains uncertain due to the absence of clear regulations. Siu notes that places like Hong Kong, Japan, and the UAE offer more clarity regarding crypto and Web3.

Learning and Progress: 

Saudi Arabia's proactive approach to emerging technologies, coupled with a hunger for progress and leadership, stands out. The kingdom seeks best practices and expertise to stay at the cutting edge of technology.

Unlocking Web3 Adoption: 

Transitioning users to Web3, whether in gaming or other sectors, requires a level of financial literacy beyond traditional banking. Siu argues that true Web3 adoption entails understanding assets' potential value and different network effects.

Web3 in Gaming: 

John Linden, CEO of Mythical Games, sees Web3 adoption in gaming, albeit at a gradual pace. He believes that focusing on new game models, the creator economy, digital supply chains, and asset ownership within games will resonate with gamers.

The Future of Web3 Gaming: 

Mythical Games foresees Web3 gaming attracting 50 to 100 million players within the next two years, with its titles targeting 10 million users by the end of 2023. As Saudi Arabia embraces these digital innovations, its journey from oil dependence to a Web3-powered economy is a captivating narrative to watch unfold.

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