SHARJAH: Lucy Chow, author and investment expert, has identified exciting new opportunities for business, investments and innovation emerging in the gaming industry for both gaming enthusiasts and founders who attended the 7th edition of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF 2024). The author of the best-selling essay collection Changing the Game, presented practical insights on the far-reaching impact of games on education, society and the economy.

Chow confirmed that video games today are no longer just interactive entertainment; they go beyond that, being part of an industry worth billions of dollars. She pointed out that the essential pillars of this sector are technology, content and talent, with gamers now representing all demographic groups and every part of the world.

Lucy highlighted that in developing the gaming sector, we would create new career paths for both women and men. She also emphasised that developing the sector would mean attracting diverse talents, including specialised engineers, designers, software developers, content creators, data experts and marketing professionals.

She referred to the efforts made by the UAE and Saudi Arabia in this context, explaining that the Dubai 2033 video game programme aims to position the emirate among the top 10 global centres for the video game sector and to enhance its contribution to the gross domestic product to reach about USD 1 billion. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia with big investments as well as private and public sector companies dedicated to developing the gaming industry, the country has a long-term plan to develop the sector as one of the key contributors to its national economy.

In another panel discussion titled ‘Cultivating Powerful Communities in Real Life (IRL)’, content creator Abo Flah and Emirati esports star Amina Al Ameri, explored the expansion of social media platforms and their increasing popularity among Gen Z, which spends more time online than their predecessors. Moderated by media personality Yousef Abdelbari, the conversation highlighted how digital platforms can serve as powerful tools to unite people and foster community spirit.

Describing his journey to finding success, Abo Flah, remarked, “Here at SEF, an attendee shared their disappointment of not achieving what they set out to achieve after trying for 1.5 years. To them and everyone else I would like to highlight that patience and perseverance are key. It took me four years of hard work to get where I am. People only see my success; not my struggles”.

He also highlighted the importance of working with the right people as a key ingredient.

Amna, who began her journey in content creation when she was 13 years old, and then again in 2020, quit her project because she wasn’t headed in the right direction. Unafraid, she started a fresh career in gaming in 2023 after a 3-year break.

“My decision did not delay anything; in fact, it marked the beginning of my gaming career. Therefore, my message is that you can achieve your dreams without feeling afraid or confined. Carve out your own path; focus on what truly ignites your passion. Gaming is mine.”

The young gamer encouraged peers in the packed audience to follow their vision with courage and without any self-doubt.