Web3 gaming startup GAM3S.GG.based out of Abu Dhabi UAE has just raised $2 million in seed funding led by investment firm Mechanism Capital and other angel investors including  Polygon, Double Peak, ArkStream Capital, LD Capital, ROK Capital, Hyperithm, Snackclub, Emurgo Ventures, Eden Ventures and Mix Marvel Ventures.

Formerly known as Polkastarter Gaming, GAM3S.GG, offers curated Web3 gaming content, with 200 listed games across 15 chains and over 60,000 registered gamers.

Omar Ghanem, Co-Founder and Chief Executive officer of Gam3S.GG states, “The gaming industry is at a crossroads while Web3 offers new exciting possibilities, the lack of quality content and a singular destination for all your Web3 gaming needs has left many gamers lost.”

GAM3S.GG said it is building the hub to enable newcomers and professional gamers to explore new frontiers and experiences within one single Web3 gaming superapp. The startup is also a member of AD Gaming, the entity responsible for developing the gaming and e-sports industry in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Gaming (AD Gaming), is supported by Unity Technologies, Flash Entertainment, UAE Pro League, Emirates Esports Association and the Media Zone Authority. AD Gaming hopes to provide a support system for game developers, players, consumers, and businesses in Abu Dhabi. The initiative will work to grow regional gaming and esports talent and bring gaming events to Abu Dhabi.

GAM3S.GG intends to build advanced features to eliminate barriers to entry for blockchain games, including social logins, player-owned item management, progression rewards, in-game progress tracking, as well as directly playing Web3 games on the platform.

Prior to this announcement, South Korea’s Blockchain, NFT, metaverse game developer and publisher WeMade signed onboarding agreements with several domestic and international game companies for the blockchain game platform “WEMIX Play.” One of those is a UAE game company, Project Seed, which will be working on a fantasy action role playing game RPG titled Outland Odyssey.

Reports have noted that MENA gaming revenue will hit $6 billion by 2027. Over $3 billion was invested in the industry by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in 2022, as part of a much larger $38 billion commitment by PIF to be used by its company Savvy Games Group (SGG). Multiple acquisitions in gaming (Embracer Group, Scopely) and esports (ESL, FACEIT, VSPO) have already been executed.

BCG’s latest gaming report titled ‘Game Changer: Accelerating the Media Industry’s Most Dynamic Sector’, highlights that more than 60% of the population in the Middle East are gaming enthusiasts, resulting in one of the highest shares of gaming mobile app downloads (50% compared to the global average of 40%).

A strong indication of Middle East populations towards gaming is strong growth of game streaming at 24.5% CAGR, which is on path to reach approximately 200 million users in 2025, according to Boston Consulting Group’s latest gaming report. The region’s growth is three times faster compared to China, the current leader, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.5% versus 7.6%.

The gaming industry is big business in the Middle East and Africa. Several hundred million gamers live in the region, making up 15% of total gamers globally. In the United Arab Emirates alone, the gaming industry is worth an estimated $288m.

“The metaverse and gaming go hand in hand, with so many new ways of bringing high-quality gaming and esports content to global audiences through metaverse ecosystems,” said James Hartt, director of strategic partnerships at AD Gaming, which is an organization that aims to build a self-sustaining gaming and e-sports ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.

 “Abu Dhabi has become a regional hub for Web3 gaming,” Sultan Al Riyami, head of gaming and eSports at AD Gaming, said. The UAE is also investing heavily in gaming. In an interview in June 2023, Anton Vasilenko, co-founder and CEO of True Games stated, “Over the next two years, we’ll be investing significantly in the future development and expansion of eSports lounges in the UAE and across the broader Middle East region. By the end of 2023, we plan to invest $13.5 million into developing our gaming centers in the UAE alone.”

According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets, the NFT industry in the UAE is  expected to grow steadily, recording a CAGR of 32.1% during 2022-2028. The NFT Spend Value in the country will increase from US$982.1 million in 2022 to reach US$ 4.746.3 million by 2028.

As per the report the non-fungible token (NFT) scene is growing as more and more entrepreneurs, businesses, and celebrities enter the fast-growing industry. Like the rest of the world, the UAE market is also rapidly adopting NFTs.

The report notes that over the last 12 months, several innovative NFT marketplaces have also emerged in the country, which has made it relatively simpler for the general public to buy, sell, and trade in NFTs. From NFT-based startups to cryptocurrency exchanges, several players are entering the UAE NFT market; the presence of several NFT marketplaces has also supported the rise in NFT trading transaction value and volume, the trend expected to gain further momentum over the next three to four years in the UAE.

Already the NFT market is witnessing a resurgence in 2023. Digital ownership continues in 2023 with $256.69 million in non-fungible token (NFT) sales over the last seven days up to January 22nd 2023,  according to statistics from cryptoslam.io. This represents a 16.39% increase from the previous week’s NFT sales and includes 1,355,376 NFT transactions. A total of 320,580 buyers participated in the market activity, a 43.48% increase from the prior week.

The rise of blockchain-based gaming is expected to drive NFT market growth in the UAE. With blockchain-based gaming, people are frequently awarded cryptocurrencies or NFTs for participating in gaming tournaments. This explains why the Abu Dhabi government-backed AD Gaming program has entered into a strategic collaboration with local crypto platforms such as Attarius Network, which attempts to increase the chances of blockchain-based gaming. The collaboration aims to create a participatory and collaborative NFT ecosystem for gamers.

For example GLEAC, an Abu Dhabi Hub71 entity announced the launch of the world’s first utility NFT, called Lovely Humans that allows users one-on-one time with global industry experts for five hours. The winning bidder can use the time with the industry expert to gain work-related knowledge and advice, solve problems or even try to co-create a new project that can be monetised. The knowledge gained from the discussion can also be minted into a utility NFT that could be co-owned by the buyer and the industry expert. The first round of bidding will include a group of 25 experts from industries including Fintech, Metaverse, Sustainability, Data, and others.

In addition UAE based Farming Online launched its NFT marketplace on UAE’s 51st National Day at Gracia Farm under the theme you farm on the internet we farm on the ground. Gracia Group is an innovative model of future farming, created by an Emirati entrepreneur Hamed Al Hamed to influence and change the agricultural sector. 

Rolls-Royce has unveiled its latest Bespoke Series Phantom ‘The Six Elements’ as NFTs in UAE. This unique project features six one-of-a-kind Phantom Extended Series II cars, each featuring a commissioned hand-painted artwork by world-renowned British artist Sacha Jafri. The cars were designed and crafted by the Bespoke Collective at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood in collaboration with the resident Bespoke designer in the Rolls-Royce Private Office in Dubai.

The project has raised over $1 million for charity. The project, initiated by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Dubai and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Abu Dhabi, began in late 2020 and has taken two years to complete.

The use of NFTs in the “The Six Elements” series allows each car to have its own unique digital token, which can be sold independently to raise funds for charity. This represents a new way for luxury car manufacturers to use blockchain technology for philanthropy and could potentially open up new opportunities for collaboration between artists, car manufacturers, and collectors.

As Abu Dhabi strives to become a global gaming hub through the AD Gaming government led initiative it is accelerating the growth of the region’s gaming industry with its recent partnership with AA Meta a local Metaverse and Web3 Development Company. The company will deliver cutting-edge Web3 solutions to the emirate’s game development eco-system.

Fostering an environment of innovation and knowledge, AD Gaming provides a support system for the next generation of game developers and players, businesses, and fans alike. AD Gaming is powered by the collaboration of multiple Abu Dhabi-based government and commercial organizations, as well as content creators and gamers, all with the shared passion to see locally produced content on the world’s gaming stage.

AD Gaming has signed a partnership agreement with AA Meta which provides metaverse infrastructure and Web3 technology solutions that enable next-generation gaming.

Alongside using this technology for its own projects, AA Meta provides its offering to other gaming businesses as well. Metaverses and blockchain gaming allow gamers to interact in new, community-driven worlds, whilst providing businesses with new payment solutions to power new in-game economic models and innovative ways to deliver immersive experiences to audiences across the world.

Based in Abu Dhabi’s purpose-built creative industries campus, Yas Creative Hub, AA Meta is part of a booming community of businesses that span all forms of interactive media and entertainment, including gaming. By partnering with AD Gaming to offer Web3 solutions to Abu Dhabi’s gaming ecosystem, AA Meta is empowering metaverse users as the global gaming industry capitalizes on the advanced capabilities of a Web3-based environment.

In partnership with AD Gaming, AA Meta aims to grow the local metaverse industry, providing job opportunities for UAE residents looking to forge careers in this expanding sector. The global metaverse industry, of which the MENA region is a leading investor, is expected to generate revenues of USD 966 billion (AED 3.55 trillion) worldwide by 2030.

“By providing expert solutions for gaming businesses looking to leverage Web3 technologies, AA Meta is able to fully support the development of a blockchain gaming community in Abu Dhabi. This new avenue of interactive media presents an exciting career path for aspiring gaming industry talent, and for gamers across the world, it offers a new way to play-to-earn in the metaverse,” said Hussain Al Omaeirah, AA Meta Co-founder, Chairman & Managing Director. 

James Hartt, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Development at AD Gaming, added: “Abu Dhabi offers a comprehensive ecosystem for the gaming industry, with AA Meta adding yet another string to our bow. The increased immersion and focus on community-building provided by Web3 technologies makes this an incredibly exciting area for gamers and game developers alike, so we’re proud to be pioneering it in Abu Dhabi.”

 AA Meta’s platform recently saw the launch of the highly anticipated MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) Thunder Lands. Available on both on PC and Android, Thunder Lands allows gamers to be rewarded for the time they spend playing the game by earning cryptocurrencies through in-game activities. 

Following the success of Thunder Lands, AA Meta plans to us its expertise in the areas of Game Fi technology and decentralised apps (DApps) to grow its active user base to over 50,000 by Q2 2023. It will achieve this by building out its portfolio through the addition of new, immersive games.