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Subtle Development Shift Could Spark Gaming Industry Growth

The global gaming industry has suffered an economic downturn in recent times, forcing many companies to explore other revenue streams in a desperate bid to stay afloat.

Mojang Studios, the gaming company behind the hugely popular Minecraft video game, is among the firms which has been impacted.

Amid the search for fresh opportunities, one avenue that many gaming companies have not fully explored is the rapidly growing iGaming industry.

While many of the firms would be venturing into uncharted territory, emerging iGaming jurisdictions such Lebanon could be well worth exploring.

The Middle East has a complicated relationship with the iGaming industry, but Lebanon is one of the few nations in the region that are cautiously dipping their toes in.

Lebanon has a licensed land-based casino, which is more than can be said about many of the other most prominent Gulf States. 

While there is no licensed online casino in Lebanon, overseas platforms such as 1XBET, 22BET and Quickwin operate there. This presents a window of opportunity for the gaming sector.

The State of the Gaming Industry

The volatility of the gaming market has forced several companies to explore new revenue streams, and Mojang is already considering a few options.

They are exploring sectors such as education, content streaming and merchandising to protect themselves from the uncertainty surrounding the gaming industry.

Despite the industry’s overall struggles, Mojang managed to double their revenue in the products business over the last two years, but that’s mainly due to the success of Minecraft.

The game was launched in 2009 before it was sold to Microsoft in a deal worth $2.2 billion.

Minecraft has been around for a while, but it continues to thrive, recording around 175 million monthly users in the first quarter of this year.

The game has generated around $2.8bn in sales revenue since the sale, but the instability in the gaming industry has pushed Mojang to start thinking outside the box.

Industry titans such as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have also been affected by the lack of growth in the gaming sector.

Microsoft-owned Xbox has announced staff lay-offs and studio closures, with global gaming deals plummeting from $126.9bn in 2022 to just $4.2bn midway through this year.

The gaming industry experienced a growth spurt during the pandemic lockdowns as people turned to video games for entertainment.

However, the return to normalcy has forced the industry into a quiescent period, leaving companies scrambling to adapt.

Expanding Horizons

The appeal of emerging iGaming markets is undeniable, which makes Lebanon an attractive prospect for gaming companies looking to enter the industry.

These markets often have a younger, tech-savvy population with growing disposable income, making it a potentially fertile ground for new customers.

While gaming companies could struggle with the strict gambling rules in the region, exploring such an approach aligns with the industry trend of maximising intellectual property (IP) value beyond merely selling games.

Sony and Nintendo are among several big companies that have successfully expanded their franchises into other media like movies and merchandise.

Sony’s adaptation of ‘The Last of Us’ into an HBO series received critical acclaim, and Nintendo’s collaboration with Illumination to create ‘The Super Mario Bros Movie’ grossed $1.36bn worldwide.

Emerging iGaming markets such as Lebanon could offer similar opportunities, allowing companies to use their popular video game characters and storylines in themed slot games or virtual sports betting.

The Potential of Emerging iGaming Jurisdictions

Lebanon does not have a licensed online casino, but several foreign platforms operate there, paving the way for a potential collaboration between gaming companies and these firms.

Such a partnership would open the door for gaming companies to access a wider audience and generate more revenue, easing some of the current challenges in the market.

The collaboration could also create a platform for both sides to exchange technological innovations and marketing strategies, working hand in hand to ensure continued growth for all parties involved.

The partnership could be used to create educational games that utilise game mechanics to teach specific skills, which aligns with Mojang’s ambition to explore the educational sector.

A Potential Merger Could be a Game-changer

The gaming industry undoubtedly needs to adapt to the current economic climate by finding new ways to ensure sustained growth.

Mojang’s diversification plans are commendable. However, there is potential to go further and Lebanon could provide a lucrative solution.

The success of any strategy in emerging markets ultimately hinges on a thorough understanding of the target audience’s culture, regulations and preferences.

Careful planning and strategic partnerships will help gaming companies navigate these uncharted territories and secure a foothold in this emerging jurisdiction.

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