The gaming scene in Egypt has been on the rise over the past years, with communities like Gamers Lounge, and others, hosting national championships for both niche and mainstream games.

However, in Cairo, the untapped market that is game development is still struggling. We, the geeks at Cairo Gossip found this to be quite amazing. And you non-geeks out there should care too, because a report published by market intelligence firm Newzoo concluded that the gaming industry was worth a whopping $149 billion in 2017. This puts gaming on par with the sports industry, and far ahead of the music industry ($130bn) and the film industry ($40bn) in terms of worth.  This makes us extremely proud that we have a strong candidate in the field, and hopefully will manage to put us on the map when it comes to games development.

Nonetheless, with many of the major game studios being located in the west or Asia (USA, Japan, China, etc.), enthusiastic local game developers are staggered with the lack of opportunities, or their complete non-existence in the MENA region, not just Egypt.

However, Rami Ismail, the half-Dutch, half-Egyptian game developer and businessman, is keen on bridging this gap that exists in the local and global market, regardless of the challenges that stand in his way.

His efforts, although they go unnoticed by local media, are of much importance to, who have awarded him the People of the Year award for “years of diligent and selfless effort”.

This is one of the many awards that Ismail has received during his time as a game developer, as this year he also received the Game Developers Conference’s (GDC) Ambassador Award, among other awards for the games that Vlambeer, the indie games company he co-founded, created.

Ismail’s efforts are summed up in a Matthew Handrahan article about why they chose him for the People of the Year award; his “desire for the games industry to be a more open and accessible environment to all people, regardless of the size of their bank balance, the breadth of their experience, or, crucially, the countries and cultures with which they identify, plays a larger role in choosing him for the award.” says that Ismail spends most of his time travelling, attending conferences in unmarked territories to encourage developers’ communities outside the bounds of the all-too-known major production studios’ homes.

He is also on GDC’s #1ReasonToBe panel, which encourages women in the industry to talk about the challenges they face, and Ismail has been credited by for broadening the scope of what the panel is all about by going far beyond the limitations of gender in the industry.

By Adel M. Fakhry

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