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The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be “major players” in Metaverse; will invest and raise billions: Expert

The UAE and Saudi Arabia will lead the region if it comes to investing in the metaverse as the Middle East becomes a ‘major player’ in the online virtual world, a futurist expert tells Al Arabiya English .

In an interview with Al Arabiya English, Ian Khan, author of “Metaverse for Dummies”, said the region has also seen several firsts in the immersive virtual world, including the first-ever Metaverse wedding.

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Meanwhile, Dubai is now home to MetaIncubator; the first Metaverse incubator in the Middle East, designed to foster early-stage Metaverse and Web3 application development.

According to the latest McKinsey & Company report, the metaverse, which is considered the future of business and human interaction, is expected to reach $5 trillion by 2030.

And Khan thinks the Middle East can capitalize on the market.

“The Middle East is one of the fastest tech adoption regions in the world and that is also true for the metaverse,” he told Al Arabiya English. “From participating in the conversation to participating in the metaverse, we’re seeing a lot of activity in the region.”

This is especially true for the United Arab Emirates, he said.

“So far, the UAE is taking bold steps to experiment with the metaverse and also examine the short-term and long-term economic benefits that this new area of ​​technology can bring.”

“The buzz is very real, and it’s turning into reality thanks to some of the activities happening right here in the UAE and in the wider region.”

Khan said both public and private sector entities are engaging in metaverse-related initiatives in the region.

This includes the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), which leads the foresight and technological exploration of emerging technologies, and government entities such as the Ajman Police Department, which recently launched an initiative where members of the public can also Meet and interact with Ajman Police at the Metaverse, where avatars of officers will answer people’s questions.

“Dubai management recently set up a committee to study the opportunities of the metaverse and how it could support economic growth in the future,” Khan said. “This is a big step forward not just for the region, but as a global industry as a whole, to help lay the foundation for a very fast growing industry.”

“From a thought leadership perspective and leading the conversation, this year Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, announced the organization of a first conference of futurists organized by the Dubai Future Foundation in October 2022. This conference will cover many topics about the future, including the metaverse and its impact.

“We also have private and public sector entities doing pilot testing and experiments on these issues.”

“This includes the example of the Ajman Police Department interacting with the public via the metaverse, while the Dubai Municipality also suggested that it would participate in the metaverse and create a virtual city. Dubai also hosted the first wedding on the metaverse. Now that’s a first.

Regionally, Saudi Arabia is also taking a big step towards developing the gaming ecosystem, Khan said.

“Saudi is hosting a week-long gaming festival in Riyadh this summer. These and other activities are fueling strong growth in the Kingdom.

“Bloomberg predicts that by 2024 the metaverse will generate over $800 billion, and I believe there is an opportunity for the Middle East to take some of that projected growth and create opportunities in the region that will support her.”

The Middle East’s foray into the metaverse will have many economic benefits for the region, Khan said.

“Global gig tech giants including Microsoft, Facebook, NVIDIA, Google and others who have a stake in the metaverse through their hardware or solution offering perspective will find the region rich with opportunities. and are likely to expand their reach in the Middle East as a result.”

“We are already seeing tech megaconferences like LEAP, HACK, GITEX, and dedicated gaming and metaverse events. Thousands of attendees and professionals from around the world attend and testify to the region’s focus on emerging technologies. »

Dubai burger joint Pickl has released images of what their restaurant will look like in the metaverse.  (Provided)

Dubai burger joint Pickl has released images of what their restaurant will look like in the metaverse. (Provided)

In the near future, the metaverse will also create jobs in the virtual world, Khan said.

“Jobs in the Metaverse are likely to be in a variety of industries. This will include the gaming industry, retail, and professional services. With the increased use of the Metaverse, private and public entities can see growth in their user base, providing more experiential means of engagement and meeting the needs of metaverse participants.

“There is also an opportunity to make the Middle East a gaming hub, which in turn would open up multiple opportunities for economic growth.”

“The Government of Dubai has estimated that the metaverse could add up to 42,000 virtual jobs and over $4 billion by 2030. However, I believe that if things go as currently planned, these numbers could increase. .”

“The metaverse serves as an engagement channel, so it’s highly likely that there will be people and participants in the metaverse who want to interact with the metaverse.

“This could include making purchase decisions, purchasing digital or physical goods through the Metaverse, and receiving and providing services. We may not be far from the era where the Metaverse becomes a important channel for such exchanges.

“The Middle East is also on the way to establishing a major gaming industry, which is heavily invested in the metaverse.”

Read more:

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