7 Opportunities and Challenges for Gaming Startups

At the Smartphones and Tablets Session at the Dubai World Game Summit, Ayham Gorani, the CEO of Alpha Apps, sketched out the opportunities and challenges in game development for startups and players who are new to the industry. 

Advantages for startups:

  1. Speed: small companies have a fresh start, which makes it easier for them to be a first mover. They do not have struggle with a corporate culture or any previous long-term investments and commitments. They need to leverage this benefit by seeking out opportunities and leveraging their agility.

  2. Low entry barriers: the prevalence of the Apple store and other online markets means that publishing a game online is a simple process with low financial and legal barriers. Development location is also irrelevant, so companies can compete almost solely on quality.

  3. Flexibility: There are no multichannel constraints in the space, as developers can easily decide which platform they want to develop for and expand to other platforms as resources become available.

  4. Space for new concepts: Since the target audience is changing because people buy phones for use but also end up playing casual games like Angry Birds.

Challenges in the gaming space for startups:

  1. International competition: This is the flipside of the advantage to low barriers to entry. As location becomes irrelevant, Arab developers must compete with developers from all over the world.

  2. Simple is not easy, and skills are scarce: even developing a simple game that plays well and is visual pleasing is not easy. As the barriers to entry become even lower, high quality produced by high skill that will win the game (pun intended).

  3. Marketing becomes more and more important: Easy distribution is a key advantage and incentive for game development, however, the plethora of other games and apps makes it more crucial that you work on how you will stand out and attract attention.


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