Amman holds annual gaming summit

Hundreds of gaming enthusiasts from across the Arab world descend on Jordan to attend a gaming convention.

AMMAN, JORDAN (OCTOBER 17, 2015) (REUTERS) – Programers and game lovers had the opportunity to meet leading designers in the Gaming industry during the annual Jordan Gaming Summit held in Amman on Saturday (October 17).

More than 500 developers, programmers, and students attended the summit, which featured representatives from world renowned companies in the industry including Google, Sony, and Dice.

The event, which has been taking place since 2010, is organized by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development.

“The slogan of the fifth Jordan gaming summit is ‘How to Grow in the Gaming Industry’,” said Saeb Al Hassan, director of the Fund,

“This comes as part of the King Abdullah II Fund for Development’s focus on development, and as part the King’s commitment towards supporting the youth sector in general, and supporting their creativity and motivating them towards innovation and leadership thought. In this summit the Fund is hosting a range of speakers from around the world representing the leading companies of the gaming industry,” he added.

Technology is an important industry for Jordan, which as a country has high rates of unemployment. Recent World Bank figures show that around 33 percent of the country’s population is without work.

Jordan’s economy has been badly affected by the global economic crisis as well as the Syrian conflict, which drove more than 1.4 million refugees into the kingdom in the span of four years.

This has caused a severe strain on the country’s resources, and exasperated the issue of unemployment.

With almost 40 percent of the country’s seven million population aged under 15, youth unemployment is a particular problem and has almost doubled over the past decade.

There are at least 50,000 new entrants to Jordan’s labour market every year.

Speakers during the summit said revenues of the digital gaming industry are on the rise and expected to reach $65 billion by 2016, three times higher than the revenues in 2011.

Eighteen-year-old, Baraa Odeh, had previously participated in the summit, and as a result decided to take part in a competition organized by Sony.

“I participated in the Sony competition which took place in Jordan, and I was one of five winners in the country. I created a game called Aargh treasure, which is now published with a company called Mais Alward, who are trying to spread it to other Arab countries. Today we will have a booth in the Jordan Gaming summit 2015, and we will display various new games that we produced with with companies and individually,” said Odeh.

“The game I created is an endless running game. It’s a somewhat traditional game, but our aim was to compete with similar established games. We worked on it for almost nine months,” he added.

For participants, the summit provides an opportunity to exchange ideas and expertise, as well as explore opportunities to turn their ideas into income generating projects, said seventeen-year-old game developer, Aghar Rawashdeh.

“This is an opportunity to learn from the experience of people coming from abroad. Today there is a game designer from Dice. He has extensive experience, he’s been working in the field for years, and we’re going to benefit a lot from him,” said Rawashdeh.

“I’m now working as a lead level designer in a production company called Micro House. I am designing a new game called “The Lost Sun”. It’s a horror survival game that is realistic, as it reflects the details of a survival journey,” he added.

There were several sessions held during the summit, including a plenary session on ‘Growth’ in the technology sector, and an interview focusing on growth in the app market.

In addition to the summit, the one day event featured an exhibition showcasing Jordanian digital gaming start-ups and independent developers.