Game Localization Services in Gulf: Translating for UAE Gaming Market

UAE’s market is one of the fastest-growing markets globally. Over the last few years, the Emeriti government has been focusing on the gaming and esports sector by funding it and creating new programs to shape the future of games in the region. Many global game publishers and developers have focused on game localization services and game localization services in the gulf so they can comply with the regulations of the country and, of course, reach a bigger audience that will get to know their games in their native language.

Translating for an Arab audience requires perfect skills, knowledge of the region’s culture and traditions and awareness of the regulations that could affect your game presence in the region if not followed correctly.

Let’s find out what is different in the UAE’s gaming market and why it’s essential to find a game localization services provider in the Gulf to enter the market.

The Gaming Market in the UAE, Its Revenue and Important Statistics

As of 2019, the UAE was ranked the world’s 35th biggest gaming market in terms of revenue and also ranked its gaming influencers 5th globally.

In 2020, the gaming industry of UAE generated a total revenue of $344 Million, with mobile games contributing an amount up to $200 Million whereas PC and console games contributed $143 Million during that same period. Also, for the same year, the overwhelming majority of paying gamers (91%), spent money on in-game items or virtual goods within six months. On average, it is estimated that UAE gamers spend approximately $115 per annum in this country.

Within UAE’s online population as of 2020, 70% and 74% respectively are women and men who play mobile games while for console games, 49% are women and 64% are men. UAE being highly penetrated by mobile phones and internet has attracted global investments into their gaming industry.

In 2021, the overall size of UAE’s gaming market was estimated at $0.4 billion where gamers constituted about 73% while, paid gamers were around 41% among a population of nearly ten million people.

The massive number of UAE game enthusiasts has resulted in a demand for game localization services. Game localization services will help build strong gaming and esports ecosystems that would serve as catalysts for attracting global talents and promoting education in virtual reality, coding, game design, development among others.

Top 3 Key Initiatives for the Growth of UAE Gaming Market

The progress that demonstrates the Middle East area is mind-boggling and is predicted to peak at new extremes. The Middle East North Africa game market may reach over $ 5 billion by 2025, with current players increasing their expenditure as well as time spent in-game by users and the booming advertising revenues among other things according to a report by RedSeer . UAE has launched many initiatives over the last few years and has pumped lots of investment in games and esports.

1- Building the Gaming and e-sports ecosystem in UAE

UAE has worked in its gaming market ecosystem and has held many partnerships to create the UAE games arena. An MoU has been signed between Mubadala Investment Company and Abu Dhabi Gaming (AD Gaming), with the aim of creating a gaming and esports ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Building a strong game playing and sports ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates will accelerate immigration of international labor as well as further progression in virtual reality, coding, game design and development among others. This agreement lays out a framework for potential collaborations between these entities, assists individuals and firms to generate content for this sector, backs industry events, and creates jobs.

2- Abu Dhabi Gaming (AD Gaming)

AD Gaming is one of the biggest gaming initiatives in the middle east. It is the driving force behind the growth of UAE gaming market growth and transformation. This initiative will be focusing on four different aspects:

- Worldwide Collaborations: The program will focus on shrinking the gap between game developers, games translators, storytellers, writers, designers, artists and other creatives to create stunning video games.

- Turning UAE to the Global Gaming Hub: The program focuses on positioning UAE as a global destination for gamers.

- Encouraging Entrepreneurship: By creating a supportive environment for business and global investments.

- Creating A diverse Games Market: A market that suits all audience tastes.

3- Dubai Gaming Program 2033

Dubai Program for Gaming 2033 is bent on positioning Dubai among the top 10 global cities in the gaming industry by generating 30,000 jobs in the sector.
This program will drastically increase this industry’s contribution to Dubai’s digital economy growth and boost GDP by approximately $1 billion by 2033.
The Dubai Future Foundation supervises this initiative which is centered on three main areas including talent, content and tech as per several national strategies that aim to enhance the UAE and Dubai’s economies. The purpose of this venture is to make a worldwide platform in Dubai that unites digital content creators and imparts training and job opportunities in partnership with international corporations, universities and academic institutions. It will also back businesspersons besides coming up with specialized educational programs.

Why Game Localization Services are Essential for Game Publishers Who Seek Investment in the UAE

The UAE gaming market is an arena for gamers worldwide. But the Emirati gamer has a different language, culture and traditions that are concerns for any publisher searching for video game localization services in MENA region. When we look deeply at the UAE gaming market, we can see how different it is from other markets in the region and other gaming markets around the world. Along these lines, you will find out how to dip into the UAE gaming market smoothly with game localization services:

1. UAE Dialect: There are over 20 dialects in the MENA region. The UAE dialect is different from other Arabic dialects. This should be considered when communicating with UAE gamers.

2. Values of UAE: The cultural values of the UAE are centered around family, respect, and hospitality.

3. Culture Factors: In video game localization services culture factors should be checked. As it will affect color and cultural correctness of some visuals.

The Arabic language game localization services have a great purpose, which is to reach Arabic audiences in the UAE by shrinking the gap between game publishers by removing the sensitives that might affect the customer relationship. If you do not take care of these sensitive issues when getting into the process of video game localization, it could lead to many challenges when publishing your game by the National Media Council (NMC) in the UAE.

The Legal Framework and Regulations of Video Game Localization Services in the UAE

In 2023, the UAE government has set a new law to regulate all commercial gaming in the country. It’s called “General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA)”. The Authority can supervise all the gaming activities in the United Arab Emirates. Also, The UAE has The Publications and Publishing Law that governs all types of content in the country including games. Game localization services that follow the UAE market regulations are essential for games publishers in the UAE, as it will prevent any games banning. When game localization services when done correctly, the county values, customs and traditions are followed causing no trouble in the game distribution.

Banned Games from the UAE Games Market

The National Media Council (NMC) in Dubai monitors the media content published in the country, including video and electronic games. This council has its eyes on the UAE market and watches each piece of content published in the UAE market. This is a list of the games that have faced some challenges in the UAE market:

1. Spec Ops: The Line: The game was banned in the UAE for “The game was banned in the UAE for depicting Dubai in a constant state of destruction.” Resource IMDb

2. Grand Theft Auto: It was banned by the NMC as its content is full of violence, sex and drug use which is against the values of the Emirati community values.

3. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3: The game was banned in the UAE as its final mission happens in a hotel in Dubai and a bloody shoot out will occur in the place: Resource, Gulf News.

Saudisoft As a Game Localization Services Provider in Gulf and MENA Region: Over 4 Decades of Experience in the Gaming Market

Saudisoft has in-depth experience and skilled/diversified talents, Saudisoft can help you launch your game in the UAE and ensure culture appropriateness and success in the area through our game localization services.

We are aware of the UAE and MENA’s culture, regulations, sensitivity, and the different Arabic dialects spoken in the region. All of these are essential to publishing a rocking, successful video game.

And no worries, we can handle all game genres in over 100 languages.