'Industry must embrace the Middle East'

Eidos creative director Ian Livingstone has predicted great things for the Middle Eastern market – but warned Microsoft and Nintendo that they will have to protect themselves from piracy to compete with Sony in the territory.

Last week Livingstone gave the keynote speech at Games ‘08 in Dubai, the first cross-industry games event in the region. Sony and Microsoft joined the likes of Activision, EA, Midway, Sega, THQ and Ubisoft at the event.

Livingstone told MCV that the market is “growing very quickly” – supporting PriceWaterHouseCooper’s forecast that the total Middle East, European and African markets will be worth US$15.4 billion by 2011.

“PlayStation is the dominant brand with significant installed bases in the Gulf Co-operation Council with over four million PS2s, over one million PSPs and around 200,000 PS3s” he said.

“The Middle Eastern video games market today is worth $750m, of which $600m is made up of hardware and peripherals.

“The important statistic is that sales are growing 30 per cent year-on-year.”

Livingstone added that Xbox 360 is showing signs of growth, but is suffering from illegal activity, leaving it at risk of being snubbed by third parties compared to the PS3.

“Xbox 360 is growing but suffers from piracy – particularly in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

“PS3 is not yet pirated and the trade is now starting to see the potential of this platform.”

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Tags: Microsoft , Sony , ian livingstone

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