Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Video-gaming industry breaks culture barriers in Pakistan  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 08/03/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN -Arab News) It?s a city better known for its history and culture, but a new generation of mobile game developers is bringing a slice of Silicon Valley to Pakistan?s Lahore

With open plan offices, mixed gender teams, gourmet catering and an emphasis on a fun atmosphere, the small but growing IT industry worth an estimated 2.8 billion is being led by young entrepreneurs like Babar Ahmed

Ahmed, 33, left a career as a circuit engineer in Austin, Texas to found Mindstorm Studios in the eastern Pakistani city in 2006 with his brother Faraz

Today their studio employs 47 people thanks to hits like 2010?s ?Whacksy Taxi,? which shot to number one on Apple?s AppStore in over 25 countries; ?Mafia Farm? in 2012 and ?Cricket Power,? the official game of the 2011 World Cup

?The idea was to put Pakistan on the gaming world,? said Ahmed, explaining he was tired of ?drawing room talk? among expatriates in the US about how something should be done for their homeland

Mindstorm is one of several games development studios in Pakistan ? mainly based in Lahore but also in the capital Islamabad and Karachi ? to have prospered with the spread of the smartphone

?After the iPhone was launched, the definition of what a game is changed overnight. The definition of what a gamer is changed overnight,? said Ahmed

While traditional ?hardcore? games ? typically played on home console systems or PCs ? need multi-million dollar budgets and teams of dozens of developers, games designed for smartphones need far less start-up capital

That has allowed countries in eastern Europe, Pakistan, and the Philippines to become prime destinations for software outsourcing, said Jazib Zahir, chief operations officer at Tintash, another Lahore-based studio that provided the back-office for ?Fishing Frenzy,? another top-ten hit

According to the government, some 24,000 people are now employed in software exports ? though the figure also includes more traditional areas like financial software and health care

?One of the advantages that Pakistan brings is we do have a critical mass of people with training and aptitude, an interest in developing software and art and combining them,? adds Zahir, who is also a part-time tech journalist

At ?We R Play?, an Islamabad-based studio based in a converted warehouse on the outskirts of the city, rows of twentysomethings busy themselves on their computers surrounded by colorful posters, plush toys and action figures

The company was founded in 2010 by Mohsin Ali Afzal and Waqar Azim, with a major emphasis placed on a modern office space

?We were sure from when we started that we didn?t want cubicles and I wouldn?t have a big office,? said Afzal, who returned from UC Berkeley in 2010

?We wanted to make sure we?re sitting with everyone. We encouraged everyone to take ownership of their spaces and gave them money to get stuff for their tables.

Workspace and play is also seen as key at CaramelTech, a Lahore studio founded in 2011 by brothers Saad and Ammar Zaeem which is responsible for coding global 2011 mega-hit Fruit Ninja (which had over 500 million downloads) on some platforms for an Australian studio

The office has a designated play room complete with pool table, table football, and X-box

?Every day at 4pm they?re forced to leave their work and go play upstairs. We want that culture where people aren?t only working but also enjoy themselves,? Ammar said

Also notable in the games studios is near gender-parity, a striking fact in a country where female participation in the workforce has lagged behind for decades

People are dressed in everything from Western jeans and t-shirts to hijabs. For some, convincing their family they are working in a ?real job? wasn?t easy

?Basically my parents think I play all day and don?t work,? joked Saadia Zia, We R Play?s 24-year-old head of quality assurance department which is tasked with teasing out bugs

In addition to gaining the trust of employees? families, the game studios have to contend with a host of issues ranging from frequent power outages to insecurity and civil unrest

?Electricity does not work. You have to come to terms with that,? said Ahmed of Mindstorm, who plans to move his studio off-the-grid using solar panels

They also have to contend with faulty telephone lines, security threats and the ubiquitous corruption that dogs life in Pakistan

?Right outside our gate we had a car being gunned down. That affects you.

However, the rewards outweigh the risks, he said

?It?s somewhat like the Wild West. It?s not for everybody. If you expect a level of service from the environment around you, that?s not going to happen. If you can fend for yourself, it?s great.?


 


Arab News




  MENA News Headlines
 Jan 29 2015 - HH the Emir Receives Phone Call from Ban Ki-moonQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Thursday received a phone call from the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, during which he thanked HH the Emir on the ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Consumer spends on pharma products to increase to Dh5.03b by 2020Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai € Consumer expenditure on pharmaceutical products, medical appliances and equipment in the UAE has experienced a strong increase and is forecast to be valued around ...

 Jan 29 2015 - UAE- Time to put cyber security on top priorityKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Kaspersky lab solutions block millions of attacks across the globe, which clearly indicates that cyber criminals are smart, but not smarter than security providers.This was ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Indian business council honours Emirati businessmenKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai - The Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) hosted a reception on the occasion of the 66th Republic Day of India at the Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay, on Sunday. ...

 Jan 29 2015 - UAE, Canada discuss ways to boost tradeKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu Dhabi - Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade, received a Canadian delegation led by Martin Zablocki, CEO of the Canadian ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Emirates NBD facilitates Stanbic in $85 million loan facilityKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait and Standard Chartered Bank joined the transaction as mandated lead arrangers while Al Khalij Commercial Bank and The Commercial Bank of Qatar ...

 Jan 29 2015 - NBAD profit jumps 28% in 2014Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu Dhabi - A strong growth in incomes from interest and non-interest based revenues bolstered the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) profits to Dh1.372 billion in the quarter ...

 Jan 29 2015 - UAE pharma spend to hit Dh5 billion by 2020Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) It is also forecasted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 9.78 per cent from 2014 to 2020 as, by then, the value of consumer expenditure on ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Parents happy with children's educationKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu Dhabi: A survey by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has revealed that parents across the emirate are satisfied with their children's schools. The education ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Customers continue winning at Malabar Gold 1amp Diamonds FestivalArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Customers continue to win at Malabar Gold & Diamonds' ongoing gold and diamond festival.The jewelry retailer's 4th edition of Malabar Gold & Diamonds Festival in the GCC ...

more...


 






Google

Internatinal Property Show

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help