Games for Change (G4C) and AD Gaming, the initiative guiding the growth of Abu Dhabi’s gaming industry, announced the first-ever Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Games for Change Summit will be held in Abu Dhabi on October 11 - 12, 2022. The event will bring together global gaming experts to explore best practices and build strong business relationships with UAE-based gaming companies and talent. The G4C Summit will be held in partnership with the U.S. Mission to the UAE and twofour54.

The 2-day summit will connect 300 leaders across Abu Dhabi’s gaming industry with international expertise and the latest ideas and innovations in gaming. Keynote speakers include Asi Burak, Chief Business Officer at Tilting Point; Leo Olebe, Managing Director at Google Play; Chelsea Blasko, Co-CEO at Iron Galaxy.

Through talks, panels, workshops, networking events, and an interactive arcade, attendees will explore the economics and business trends driving the gaming industry, hear first-hand experiences of independent game developers and entrepreneurs from across the globe, and learn from case studies on using games for impact on social issues like education, healthcare, and climate change.

“Through Abu Dhabi’s world class gaming industry support program, AD Gaming, the Emirate is now home to the largest community of game developers in the region,” said James Hartt, Director of Strategic Partnerships at AD Gaming. “With world-leading industry names such as Ubisoft and Unity, along with so many innovative independent game developers based in the Emirate, there is an impressive amount of high-quality games being produced in Abu Dhabi. We’re proud to work with Games for Change to bring this important event to the UAE capital and, in turn, empower game developers in their continuous quest to build great games with a real-world impact.”

“The Games for Change Summit in Abu Dhabi is an opportunity to reimagine the gaming sector’s role in global development and international collaboration,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “For nearly 20 years, the Games for Change community has shown us how the games industry is more than an engine for economic development — it’s a vehicle for social impact. Games for Change is thrilled to work with gaming leaders in Abu Dhabi to build an ecosystem focused on innovation, education, and real-world impact.” 

Robin Solomon, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the UAE, added: “The U.S. Mission to the UAE is proud to partner with Games for Change (G4C), Abu Dhabi Gaming, and twofour54 to strengthen U.S.-UAE collaboration in the gaming industry and to support the growth of the UAE’s creative economy. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the unique U.S.-UAE bond by connecting American and Emirati experts and innovators in the UAE’s exciting and growing gaming sector.”

Under the AD Gaming initiative, Abu Dhabi has emerged as the capital of the region’s video gaming industry and is fast becoming a global gaming hub. The UAE’s gaming industry is expected to reach USD 288 million in revenues in 2022. This figure continues to increase, driven by a growing youth sector, which currently comprises 34% of the Emirati population. With its gaming population, emerging talent, and rich traditions of storytelling, the UAE is primed to revolutionize the expanding global industry. 

The Games for Change Summit in Abu Dhabi is the latest development in an ongoing partnership between Games for Change, the United States, and the UAE. This past year, G4C teamed up with Aldar Education and AD Gaming in the UAE to launch Game Exchange, a virtual exchange program connecting youth in the United States, the Middle East, and North Africa. Students in the United States and the UAE are working together to design games that address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals under three overarching themes: Human Rights, Sustainable Societies, and a Healthy Planet. Impact games developed by UAE-based students in the Game Exchange program will be exhibited during the Games for Change Summit.