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Gaming in the Gulf to exceed European growth rates

Region’s largest e-Sport tournament planned in time for GITEX

The growth of electronic gaming in the Middle East is expected to surpass the growth percentage in Europe, a recent report revealed.

Electronic gaming is predicted to grow from $11.1 billion to $15.4 billion by 2011 in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), according to PriceWaterCoopers and Wilkofsky Gruen.

Video game sales are being fuelled by a combination of a growing youth population in many Arab countries, as well as rising internet penetration - particularly high-speed broadband, which facilitates multiplayer gaming. In addition, the summer season is typically a peak sales season.

To take full advantage of the period, the organiser of GITEX Technology Week, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), has announced plans for the region's largest eSport forum. GITEX Digital Game World is being organised in collaboration with Europe's leading online gaming league, Electronic Sports League (ESL). The event will boast several sponsors, which will support the tournament with a multitude networking platforms.

"The growth in the Middle East gaming industry is being driven by the extraordinary expansion of economic activities in the UAE and its overall growth is predicted to surpass the percentage of growth in Europe," said Jens Hilgers, CEO, Turtle Entertainment, operator of the ESL.

"The high rate of internet penetration globally is promoting a new trend of connected lifestyles among urban youths around the world and this lifestyle is fuelling the growth of electronic gaming," he added.

Gamers will be able to take part in tournament play or free part, with an exclusive Pro Gaming Arena featuring the most advanced technology for tournament players. Over 200 PCs will be set up in the free gaming zone where participants can play without needing to register.

Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, DWTC, added: "Gaming is now one of the most important areas of technological development, revenue-generation and networking innovation for many leading technology groups, so it is important that regional companies expand their role in these areas."

GITEX Technology Week takes place between 19-23rd October, 2008 at the Dubai Trade and Convention Centre.

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