Written by Maria Almas

Pakistan: An Emerging Market for Game Development

Aug 22, 2020 | 0 comments

The mobile gaming industry in Pakistan

It’s a city best known for its heritage and tradition, but a new wave of developers of mobile games is taking a slice of Silicon Valley to Lahore Pakistan. With open-plan offices, mixed-gender teams, gourmet catering, and an emphasis on a friendly environment, young entrepreneurs like Babar Ahmed are leading the small yet rising IT industry worth an estimated $2.8 billion.

“The idea was to put Pakistan on the gaming world,” Ahmed said, adding that he was tired of “drawing-room conversation” among expatriates in the US about how to do something about their homeland.

In Pakistan, gaming startups expand despite the lack of a local market

Many people are unaware of the fact that Pakistan has a tradition of visual artists and game developers cultivating emerging talents. The digital age is rapidly evolving, and so is Pakistan’s youth. The new generation is taking measures to grow the local gaming industry as well as to establish international names in the field of visual effects. If it’s making a smartphone app or designing 3D, Pakistani youth are experts in animation and gaming. There are a variety of animation companies and gaming studios taking the animation industry by storm, especially in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.

Game development in Pakistan

The increase in digital app production occurred after seeing the growing popularity of mobile games. A Lahore-based start-up, Mind Storm Studios had created the first-ever commercialized video game Cricket Revolution. The game, released in October 2009, also carries the distinction of being an official online game for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

Pakistan’s Gaming Industry

Pakistan has a population of over 212 million with a median age of about 23 years-a perfect age group to capitalize on the fascinating opportunities that gaming provides. The headline festivals and events are still attracted to the eyes but the spin-off from the increase of gaming is the development of supporting sectors offering new job opportunities in fields such as game production, technological support, and event management. Casual gaming on mobile devices now accounts for a staggering $70 billion produced in Asia alone, with the ever-present smartphone being carried around.

There are various ways to draw a country’s focus, so it can improve the economy, attract investors, and present the nation in the best light. Pakistan has been home to an extraordinary gaming event in a recent development, and one of the biggest ever witnessed by the region. The event that took place at the Lahore Expo Center was filled with over 10,000 people from around the country to the rafters.

Success stories are becoming more popular in Pakistani game industry

Innovative apps such as Groopic, Whacksy Taxi, Ranger Sniper Shooter 3D, and Stick Cricket have been created by Pakistani developers which have been recognized by international media. Whacky Taxi reportedly became one of the most commonly downloaded applications in 25 countries. Such success stories from Pakistan have drawn the attention of globally known game developers, such as UBISOFT, EA, Microsoft Studios, SONY Entertainment, and MTV Games.

Pakistanis are making their way into the global mobile gaming market

Pakistani game makers have developed a range of applications that target the local market. Pakistani developers keep an eagle eye on national issues and come up with common game concepts based on the national mood prevailing. Extreme Metro Run is one of the games that tap into the collective consciousness, portraying the rowdy essence of our culture.

The trend has moved from computer games into social media and smartphone games according to the study. The study also reports that in 2017 the gaming industry was expected to become a worth $41 billion market.

Despite Encouraging Signs, There Are Challenges to Overcome

Pakistan’s IT industry produces annual sales of more than $3 billion. Despite this, our IT industry and professionals in Pakistan face a variety of challenges each day. One is the difference between academic institutions and the IT industry. Students are not welcomed and brought to the forum where they can display their talent. Likewise, a growing example of cybercrime and social behaviors hold our local smartphone users hesitant to use their credit/debit cards online. This, unfortunately, and inevitably, pushes our game developers to look to the foreign markets that are ripe to buy games in-app.

Pakistan is now listed in the white list of anti-money laundering body Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which promotes structured e-payment systems internationally, according to recent studies. The recent innovation of inviting PayPal, Amazon, and other giant online stores in Pakistan reflects this change.

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