Ubisoft, the French software giant behind the hit video-game Assassin's Creed, wants to hire up to 100 people in the capital as part of a plan to develop a gaming industry in the Middle East in partnership with Abu Dhabi's twofour54.
"Ubisoft has opened an office in a region where the industry does not exist. It is more than a challenge, it is an opportunity," said Yannick Theler, the general manager at Ubisoft.
"Our strategy is to start where nobody is. We know it will take five to six years to raise the expertise [here] and it will be five to 10 years before Mena [Middle East and North Africa] becomes a centre of gaming."
The company wants to hire 100 new recruits over the next three to five years. It is working primarily with twofour54 to help to boost its presence and in turn the industry.
In March, twofour54 launched a16-month training programme at its gaming academy in partnership with Ubisoft and the SAE Institute. Participants yesterday demonstrated their playable demos for the first time.
Fakhra Al Mansouri, a 25-year-old Emirati student on the course. quit her job in IT management to enrol at the academy. "I love videogames. I grew up with them, so when I had the opportunity [I took it]. I jumped into this and it has been amazing. My plan is to work with Ubisoft or get some work experience with a big gaming company," she said.
Ubisoft has 22 employees in its Abu Dhabi office and is expecting to recruit more over the next few months. Despite Ubisoft's focus on the region, Mr Theler said that all of its games were developed with a global outlook.
"We do not outsource jobs, we're doing it regionally. We are not going to work on one part of the game and send it to another studio to finish, but we are a global company. We develop for a worldwide purpose," said Mr Theler.
The Abu Dhabi studio is expected to launch its first game early next year, which will have a strong online focus.
"We now have the online component, social interaction is important. Mobile is also growing, we are still analysing the market, but there is no data," said Mr Theler.
Gamers in Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest markets in the region, favour racing games, followed by sport games and casual games, such as Angry Birds. UAE gamers prefer sport games and action-adventure games.
The global gaming industry is believed to be worth US$30 billion (Dh110.19bn).