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Gazillion Entertainment Opens Studio in United Arab Emirates

by Rainier on Aug. 4, 2009 @ 1:40 p.m. PDT

Abu Dhabi Media Company announced plans with Gazillion Entertainment to create the region’s first Massively Multiplayer Online Games Studio, a purpose-built, world-class facility based in Abu Dhabi, as part of the first Joint Venture in the gaming sector for the region.

As part of an integrated approach to expanding its global digital presence and brand portfolio, Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), today announced plans with Gazillion Entertainment to create the region’s first Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) Studio, a purpose-built, world-class facility based in Abu Dhabi, as part of the first Joint Venture in the gaming sector for the region.

ADMC will be an incubator for the nation’s young talent and create employment in the technology sector, as well as the birth of innovation in Arabic gaming for the region, through its world-class studio.

“Riding on the global trends in the media marketplace, Abu Dhabi has leveraged its excellent infrastructure, talent and resources, to form a solid foundation for developing a thriving media industry. Today, with the joint venture with Gazillion our company is charting new growth in the creation of digital media content and technologies, which champions Abu Dhabi's sustainable development vision and transformation into a global digital media hub,” said H.E. Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of ADMC.

In the 50:50 JV agreement with Gazillion Entertainment, a major U.S. developer and publisher of MMOGs, ADMC has created a way to ensure the region’s local talent will have an opportunity to learn skills from the forefront of the U.S. gaming entertainment experts. It is a measure of ADMC’s commitment to developing world-class facilities and providing a robust talent development framework for Emiratis.

With an expressed aim towards Emirati management of the new company within the next five years, the JV is intended to develop the path towards creating content in Arabic for the Arabic gaming market.

To initiate development of regional expertise in the games sector, Emirati students and graduates will be the first to score a chance to engage their creativity and skills, to generate games content which is meaningful to the Arab world. Students from Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Abu Dhabi will benefit from employment and on-the-job internship programmes at the JV in Abu Dhabi, a direct result of the collaboration begun earlier this year between ADMC and HCT. Internship and employment schemes will begin in Abu Dhabi in 2010 which include the opportunity for training placements overseas at Gazillion offices.

Dr. Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology emphasized the importance of educating, training and developing young UAE nationals to lead this new and exciting industry, “The Higher Colleges of Technology would work closely with Abu Dhabi Media Company and their partner companies to ensure that we develop UAE nationals with the requisite skills and aptitudes to serve this new industry. HCT also commits to provide continuing professional development for all employees of Abu Dhabi Media Company as and when required.”

The Joint Venture aligns directly with ADMC’s expansion and diversification strategy. “Abu Dhabi Media Company continues to evolve and maximize the potential of its incredible portfolio of brands, on a global scale, well beyond traditional media outlets. We believe this is the right time for us to take the next step into this and other new digital platforms,” explained Edward Borgerding, CEO of ADMC.

It also draws on the unique combination of Gazillion’s innovation and experience in online gaming, successful track record, and tremendous industry leadership potential.

“The combined assets of our companies - ADMC’s and Gazillion’s - along with the Higher College of Technology, provide a compelling case for making this partnership a long term success, and building a trusted digital media brand that engages an enthusiastic and growing gaming audience across the Arab world,” concluded Borgerding.

“MMO games are becoming an increasingly significant part of the media landscape worldwide, and premium MMO experiences have the potential to command wide audiences in the Arabic gaming market in the years to come. We are highly pleased to have the chance to collaborate with ADMC on this joint venture, which will help ensure that the vision of exceptional online games for the region is fully realized,” commented Robert Hutter, CEO of Gazillion.

“Consumers are increasingly embracing entertainment experiences through unique and immersive technologies, and we plan to market our brands in a number of novel new areas. We are aware of the potential the game sector holds around the world and in the Middle East, and are uniquely positioned to drive exciting new platforms which engage consumers through digital entertainment,” said Ricky Ghai, Executive Director of Digital Media Group, expressing his enthusiasm about the synergy brought by the Joint Venture.

The first game from the new studio in Abu Dhabi is the development of an Arabic language MMOG, based on the popular character ‘Majid’. “This particular initiative takes one of ADMC’s most famous and enduring brands in to the digital age and adds to the excitement at our overall efforts to develop the online gaming sector,” added Ghai.

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