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Red Stallion Interactive to bring video games to Middle East

September 27, 2011 |  8:45 am

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Traditionally divided between Japan and North America, the video game industry is looking for a new home in the Middle East.

Video game agency Digital Development Management is teaming with a group of Middle Eastern businesspeople to form a new company called Red Stallion Interactive that will produce and distribute games in the region.

The Bahrain-based company is being financed by and will be majority owned by a holding company of local investors led by Mohamed Juman. DDM, a U.S.-based agency that represents video game development studios, will hold a minority stake in exchange for providing business development services. The companies declined to disclose how much money is being invested in Red Stallion, but estimated that the market for video games in the region is worth approximately $1 billion per year.

The company will start with identifying titles that were recently released or are currently in production to be translated into Arabic and released by Red Stallion, according to DDM President Joe Minton. The company also plans to produce its own games rooted in Middle Eastern culture to be distributed worldwide.

"The region is so ready for really targeted content and not just a ... knockoff version that's not even translated," said Minton, noting that recent revolutions in the region could make it more open to locally made entertainment content.

Due to the relatively small number of consoles such as the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 in the region, Red Stallion plans to focus largely on digital distribution via smart phones and other mobile devices, which are far more plentiful in the Middle East, said Minton, who estimated that the market for games could reach $750 million a year.

Red Stallion will hire executives to run the company out of Qatar and Bahrain and also plans to invest in new development talent in the region. Meanwhile Minton said he is in negotiations with video game publishers to acquire the rights to games that Red Stallion will begin releasing in the Middle East in 2012.

"If you go to the Game Developers Conference, it's very common now to see folks from China," he said, referring to the annual event for video game makers. "It's our vision that a few years from now it will be just as common to see folks from the Middle East."

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-- Ben Fritz and Alex Pham

Photo: Red Stallion Interactive logo. Credit: Red Stallion Interactive

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