Why carving out a career in gaming may be a promising prospect
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Why carving out a career in gaming may be a promising prospect

Why carving out a career in gaming may be a promising prospect

The forecast for gaming looks extremely bright for the GCC market

With Covid-19 causing a devastating impact on livelihoods and businesses across the world, the need for escapism has never been more important during the pandemic with two in five millennials globally (40 per cent) turning to gaming for social interaction according to YouGov.

Periods of uncertainty cause humans to reassess their career choices, and the current environment is no exception. According to a recent poll from Aviva, which quizzed more than 4,000 people globally, it found that three out of five workers plan to learn new skills, gain new qualifications or change their career altogether as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Although the gaming industry has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, why has it become more important than ever before and how has it changed?

Regional progress
Technology is continuing to innovate and trends such as gamification, esports and virtual reality are becoming integral components for the government and private sector to explore gaming career opportunities across multiple sectors including education and entertainment.

In the GCC, consulting firm Strategy revealed that the Middle East gaming market is expected to reach $821m this year, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia being the biggest players.

Some of the notable initiatives put in place by the UAE since the beginning of the pandemic include establishing hubs and academies such as the Dubai X-Stadium as well as twofour54’s partnership with Unity technologies to develop a gaming centre of excellence.

Dubai Media City also launched a new Instagram Live series called GAME_ON, in collaboration with ON.DXB, which featured regular video game development workshops comprising 3D modeling, rigging, animation, sound engineering, VR, and tips for developers to further their careers.

With around 70 per cent of the Saudi Arabia’s population being under 30 years old and approximately 20 million gamers or gaming enthusiasts, the kingdom’s government is also making huge strides to provide job prospects for millennials across its booming gaming sector which is forecast to nearly quadruple in size by 2030.

All of these initiatives will have a long-lasting impact by creating job opportunities for local talent whilst simultaneously developing professionals with the skills that gaming firms need to grow their businesses.

The next generation of gamers
Forming a key part of driving employment within the gaming sector are universities that are aiming to cater to the growing demand of the gaming industry with more degrees dedicated to computer science, aiming to equip students with skills in video game design and digital animation.

A computer science degree will equip you with skills to apply techniques to develop video games and related systems on computers and mobile platforms, including devices such as phones, tablets and wearable devices and to identify an approach to solve real-world problems in video games and multimedia systems.

But contrary to the general consensus, a career in gaming doesn’t just entail being a professional gamer. There are a series of opportunities that are prompting a positive outlook for this multi-billion dollar industry, both on the technical and the creative side.

Also, advancements in technology including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) promise gamers new fully immersive challenges. 360-degree views of more realistic environments and haptic feedback through controls will take the gaming industry to another level and computer games creators are trying to make both AR/VR technologies synonymous with gaming.

The launch of the UAE National Program for Coders in partnership with tech giants including Google, Microsoft and Amazon, among others, is the latest development designed for not just gamers to gain a foothold in the job market. The programme plans to train and attract as many as 100,000 coders and digital companies in the next five years, while also investing in startups from $408.3m (Dhs1.5bn) to $1.08bn (Dhs4bn).

Future outlook
The forecast for gaming looks extremely bright for the GCC market with Saudi Arabia and the UAE heavily promoting the development of its digital economy and to build a thriving future driven by advances in knowledge, innovation and technology.

The building blocks for a successful career in these sectors should begin with strong academic foundation from a reputable university.

Prof Mohamed Watfa is the associate dean (research) in the faculty of engineering and information sciences at the University of Wollongong in Dubai

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