Y Magazine

Oman Gaming: In the grip of the game

A large turnout of eager youngsters at a gaming arcade in Seeb leaves the organiser stunned and all-smiles. Here’s a promising opportunity for entrepreneurs to step in and make an engaging difference, writes Hasan al Lawati.

Fuelled by pure passion, Salim Marhoon al Abri drove all the way from Ibri to Muscat for three hours on an empty stomach to compete in a video game tournament.

“It was marvellous,” the 20-year-old man said after bagging the first prize: a cost-free trip to Spain.

Salim was one among a huge crowd of youngsters who had flocked to a bustling entertainment centre in Al Seeb to take part in one of the country’s biggest gaming events.

The organisers said they were left stunned by “the unexpected turnout” as more than 400 players had registered for a game of FIFA.

The tournament was held over three nights during Ramadan. Tension mounted during the final stages, but the remarkable effort put in by the organisers made sure an error-free finale to the proceedings.

How can people turn these lively events into profitable investments? That was on my mind as I stepped into the gaming arena. I got my answer quicker than I expected to, thanks to Abdul Rahman Al Adawi.

“There is scope for a profitable entrepreneurship in the local gaming industry. I sensed a shortage of gaming hubs for Omanis and that was when I decided to start my own business,” said Al Adawi.

An encouraging number of young men are showing interest in taking part in proper, well-run competitions, he said, adding that there is more to be done, despite the increasing number of arcades in Muscat, to meet their ever-growing needs.

“I compete with four arcades in my area only,” he explained.

Abdul Rahman’s biggest achievement so far was to host Oman’s biggest PlayStation 4 FIFA 17 tournament.

More than 400 people took part in the competition, each paying RO10 to register.

“I spent most of my budget on advertising the tournament on social media,” he said. “I still get phone calls from people asking if they can register for any forthcoming event.”

Abdul Rahman plans to organise a competition once every three months.

“Getting sponsorship was not a tall order. Local firms are familiar with the increasing trend of gaming and are willing to support SMEs to take these events to a whole new level,” he said, adding that thanks to the sponsors, he was able to handsomely award the winner.

“In Oman, first-person shooting games and football games such as FIFA and PES are constantly in demand, in addition to multiplayer games,” he added.