It’s no hidden secret that the Gaming and eSports industry is rapidly growing all over the world; the MENA region is no exception. In fact, it’s expected that the MENA region’s gaming market will be worth some US$6billion (yes, billion with a -b) by 2021, according to Tencent.
Now that you wrapped your head around the numbers, don’t you think it’s time to start taking gaming a bit more seriously? We know we are. In the concrete, Bahrain has begun that process long ago, by hosting international events like the IGN Convention, and last year’s Blast Pro Series Global Final. Not to mention the launch of the first MENA Amazon Web Services right in Bahrain that did gamers a solid in minimizing ping time.
Without further ado, we wanted to show you firsthand an example of Bahrainis who are taking the lead on scaling the gaming community in B-Town: Respawn Gaming Center. We spoke to one of their Co-Founders, Mohamed Nasser, to get some more information about the center, enjoy reading!
How it all started.
Ventures are typically started out of love, and out of love for video games, Respawn came to be. A group of gamer friends, Mohamed Nasser, Abdulla Alamer, Mohamed Allawi, Ali Qaseer and Yousif Taha founded Respawn back in 2018.
Respawn is an eSports center and gaming community located at Sanad. The team managed to create a place where they can share their love for gaming with others around the Kingdom of Bahrain. Through the knowledge they gained from other gaming places in the area, the errors that affected them as players became more clear to them, further encouraging them to kickstart their own business.
The team prepared the perfect atmosphere for the gamers scene in Bahrain, providing them with high-speed internet and the best of the best setups. But that’s not it, Respawn is not just limited to gaming within the space; they also host events and competitions!
Along came challenges.
In an attempt to dig deeper at hurdles gamers face in Bahrain, we asked Mohammed about the challenges they work through at Respawn, and a proposed solution. He shared: “eSports faced a number of challenges throughout the years. To me, the best place to start facing the challenges is to put the right people with the good plan and experience in place of decision-making for the scene.”
He further elaborated: “The Middle East is just starting to be noticed by major gaming companies for support, and only by taking the right decisions that these companies will actually consider the region and Bahrain for their future plan.” Sounds understandable!
Another challenge that we brought up is the stigma of ‘gaming is bad’ that is perpetuated by parents and its impact on the gaming/eSports drive in Bahrain. Mohamed strongly agreed, explaining that lots of parents have an issue with their kids playing video games for longer durations of time.
While this sounds reasonable, it creates a negative narrative around professional video gaming and eSports as opposed to physical sports, for instance.
Mohamed detailed: “This puts players in the country in a lower-level cap, and that’s one of the biggest challenges eSports in the country faces. And in my opinion, this will only change with time as the generation that grew up with gaming will become the parents that support their kids in going into eSports as much as any other traditional physical sport.”
Let’s talk COVID-19.
This won’t come as a surprise, but gaming as a sector actually grew during the pandemic; given that people were quarantined with lots of time on their hands.
Mohamed told us that in terms of COVID-19’s impact on Respawn, they value the shop as the physical place for their community.
But that didn’t stop them, they made the switch to Discord to create an online presence, quickly gaining more than 300 members who play, discuss, and virtually gather.
The future of eSports in Bahrain.
It’s quite obvious that eSports is heading to a very successful place, as gaming centers started to show more presence in the country. Mohamed shared that they’re anticipating regional growth of the sector in less than 5 years.
When it comes to Respawn, on the other hand, the team intends to take a big part to develop the sector in Bahrain, and be the pioneer in the country to turn it into the leading place of eSports.