Gaming on the rise!

News Desk -

The CEO of Power League Gaming, Matthew Pickering, shares with Rabab Zehra, Executive Editor of TECHx, his insights into the gaming scene in the Arab region, and how his company engages gamers and promotes esports there.

TECHx: How does PLG encourage the development of esports in the Arab region?

Matthew: As a data and insight driven gaming agency, PLG constantly has a finger on the pulse of the shifting trends in how the current and next generations produce content and engage in experiences within the gaming sector.  

Besides connecting brands with the Arabic gaming audience and creating state of the art virtual tournaments, we are heavily invested on the educational aspect of gaming to nurture the future generation of gamers. 

We have a number of education partners across the region who are showing commitment to significantly invest in the tools and experiences to provide their students with the best opportunity to succeed in gaming’s technical and creative sector.  

We offer a turnkey platform, in terms of environment design, training resources, hardware, curriculum design and on and offline programs, which makes the entry point for our education partners both rapid and light-lifting in terms of the resource required on the educator’s side.  

TECHx: How have the esports trends changed since COVID brought a continuous upsurge to the industry?

Matthew: COVID-19 has seen more positive shifts in the video gaming market and has helped introduce video game play to a larger audience. Whilst the limitations put on live events and large gatherings have had a short-term impact on the esports market, there has been increased engagement in esports during COVID-19 due to the shift from on-ground events to online tournaments. This made a huge difference in allowing further participation across GCC and MENA to get involved in the tournaments from the comfort of their homes.

TECHx: For the recent debut of “Stream School,” PLG teamed up with Logitech G. What perks does it provide for young gamers? Tell our readers more about it.

Matthew: Live streaming of gaming content is seeing sustained and rapid growth across the region. At its core, a well-produced and entertaining stream requires proficiency in a wide range of hard and soft skills such as graphic design, knowledge of the hardware and the software, the technical tools required to produce a successful stream, marketing and distribution of the stream, sourcing sponsors and partners, and the ability to sustain the viewership with confidence and entertainment through a camera, all of which ultimately monetizes one’s content.  

Starting out in this hypergrowth creative industry is not easy and presents significant headwinds and knowledge gaps for young creators and their parents, who might be looking to support them on their journey.  

Stream School has been developed to break down as many of these barriers to entry as possible, giving a free series to young creators and their parents, outlining the hardware and software required and surfacing the ‘watchouts’, and demonstrates the tips and tricks to help aspiring streamers to enter the industry as quickly and successfully as possible. 

TECHx: How did the recent Pizza Hut Championship Cup at the PLG headquarters go? What were your goals for it, and how did it turn out?

Matthew: Overall, the tournament had a very positive outcome and was well received within the community. The objective of hosting this tournament at PLG was to build credibility for Pizza Hut Gaming, especially with help from PLG’s partnership with Riot Games and 8 professional eSports teams. Furthermore, our goal was to achieve a viewership of 500K, which we absolutely aced considering we surpassed that number with 850K, almost doubling the initial target we set. Finally, the Pizza Hut Championship Cup achieved a place in the official Riot Calendar as a result of the overall performance and quality of the tournament.

TECHx: Several reports indicate that female gamers in the region might soon outnumber male gamers; what’s your comment on this?

Matthew: Recently, the Middle East has been considered as one of the most progressive regions for female e-Sports athletes. In Saudi Arabia, the number of female gamers has already surpassed the number of male gamers by a margin of only 1%, and the UAE is yet to follow with male gamers only ahead by a small margin.

PLG has championed female gaming for the last 5 years. Through our insight that this segment was historically underserved by brands, content, and experiences. At PLG, we took the early step to develop IPs which specifically cater to female gamers. We believe in creating platforms to grow these talents and nurture them through different activations.

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