x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Guitar Hero soon available to Zain subscribers

Zain subscribers will soon be able to download versions of popular video games such as Guitar Hero on their mobile phones.

GETMO, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Media Company, the owner and publisher of The National, and Avarto Mobile Middle East, agreed to provide a managed portal for single and multiplayer games to Zain's customers in 24 territories in the Middle East and Africa. "This will become Zain's core games offering across all of their territories, which currently supports 70 million subscribers across the Middle East and Africa," said Scott Weeman, the general manager of GETMO. While Zain has previously offered mobile games in a few of its territories, the deal adds a standardised games portal for all its customers. The portal was rolled out in Bahrain last week and will be launched in Jordan and Lebanon this month. Mobile portals in other territories stretching from Sierra Leone to Saudi Arabia will roll out over the next two months as well as a website for downloading the content to personal computers, Mr Weeman said. Zain, which is owned by Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Company, does not cover the UAE. Zain's push into the mobile gaming market follows its advance into music . In July, Zain joined Rotana, the largest holder of Arabic-language music rights, to offer access to exclusive pre-release music. It also follows a significant expansion of the online gaming market in the Middle East. Last month, Etisalat launched a new music and games platform on its entertainment portal, while the former chief executive of Maktoob, Samih Toukan, launched Tahadi Games, one of the first Arabic gaming companies targeting the online role-playing game community. "We have seen a lot of growth of online gaming in the region in the last six to nine months," Mr Weeman said. "The amount of increased spending they are doing on online games is impressive. It's one of those areas that is new, there is a latent demand for it, and now people are starting to make content visible and adapt content." Globally, online and wireless games are expected to grow 11 per cent and 14 per cent respectively by 2013, according to the Global Online Gaming Report 2009. The Zain deal represents a broadening of strategy for GETMO Arabia, which was launched last year primarily as a legal download portal for music, films, games and other digital content. GETMO's brand will appear on the Zain portal, but the portal will be promoted primarily through Zain's brand. GETMO plans to build on the experience of its parent, Avarto, which has provided mobile and online gaming solutions to mobile operators such as Vodafone, Orange and TelefonicaO2 across Europe. @Email:khagey@thenational.ae