Activision Blizzard Eyeing Middle East As Potential Growth Area

CEO Bobby Kotick says the Middle Eastern market could prove lucrative for gaming in the next decade.

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Activision Blizzard has set its sights on the Middle East as a potential area for future growth of the company's video game business. Speaking in Abu Dhabi today, CEO Bobby Kotick laid out his vision for how the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft megapublisher could potentially grow even larger.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Kotick said gamers in the Middle East are "wealthy" and "educated." They are more likely to embrace gaming over more traditional forms of media, Kotick said during a presentation at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit today.

China's Call of Duty Online
China's Call of Duty Online

"They do not have the same investment and commitment to film and TV" as entertainment consumers elsewhere, Kotick explained.

The Wall Street Journal cites a study from consulting firm Strategy& that says the Middle East gaming market could grow from $1.6 billion this year to $4.4 billion in 2022. This is a faster growth rate than major countries such as China, Russia, and South Korea, according to the report.

The US is no longer Activision Blizzard's breadwinning region, as Kotick explained that 65 percent of the publisher's revenue comes from international markets. The company also has a deal in place with Chinese Internet company Tencent for Call of Duty Online, a free-to-play shooter tailor-made for Chinese gamers. Activision Blizzard assembled a team in Shanghai to develop this game.

Kotick went on to say that once the Middle East becomes a "significant" market, Activision Blizzard might follow suit and establish a game studio in the region, hiring local talent. The goal of this move would be for the potential Activision Blizzard Middle Eastern arm to create its own franchise and grow it on a worldwide scale, Kotick explained.

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