x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Online multiplayer game studio for Abu Dhabi

Online gaming is the fastest growing media sector worldwide, with revenues expected to increase from US$8 billion.

Abu Dhabi Media Company and Gazillion Entertainment, a Silicon Valley gaming start-up with tie-ups with Marvel and Lego, announced a joint venture today to create the region's first massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) studio in Abu Dhabi. Online gaming is the fastest growing media sector worldwide, with revenues expected to increase from US$8 billion (Dh29.3bn) in 2008 to $14bn in 2012, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers. "Consumers are increasingly embracing entertainments through entertainment experiences through unique and immersive technologies, and we plan to market our brands in a number of novel new areas," said Ricky Ghai, the executive director of the Digital Media Group at ADMC, which owns The National. "We are aware of the potential the game sector holds around the world and in the Middle East, and are uniquely positioned to drive exciting new platforms which engage consumers through digital entertainment." The first game from the new studio will be an Arabic-language MMOG, based on the character Majid, the title character from ADMC's children's magazine. MMOGs are online video games capable of supporting hundreds of thousands of players simultaneously. The most successful of them, World of Warcraft is created by the California-based Blizzard Entertainment and has 11 million subscribers and $1bn of annual revenue. The Gazillion's chief executive and president, Rob Hutter, told Forbes the success of World of Warcraft inspired him to look into multiplayer games. Since the privately held Gazillion was unveiled in March ? it has operated in stealth since 2005 ? it has reached an exclusive 10-year agreement with Marvel Entertainment, the Hollywood studio and comic book publisher behind characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man and Hulk, to make multiplayer online games using those characters. Gazillion will also make a World of Warcraft-like online multiplayer game for Lego. khagey@thenational.ae