Shun Fujiyoshi, Executive Producer for Captain Tsubasa: Dream Team, K Labs, talks to Anita Joseph about the gaming trends in the Middle East, KLab’s foray into the region and the future of the gaming industry in the region.
How would you describe the gaming industry in the Middle East?
In general, the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region has taken to gaming in a big way and has some of the world’s most active gaming communities. Here, although gamers buy titles for consoles like Xbox and PlayStation, online and mobile games are also becoming hugely popular. In fact, the mobile gaming market especially is witnessing exponential growth in the region and has become a mass marketing channel for brands. Interestingly, the gaming trend is also changing. Earlier, the gaming industry was a niche arena for a certain age group or demographic segment. However, with mobile gaming gaining traction, it has become a solid entertainment platform for players from all backgrounds and ages.
How and when did KLabs begin its journey? How would you describe the growth and evolution of the company?
KLab began providing mobile online games in 2009. Since then, we’ve been able to leverage our knowledge of mobile games and create hit after hit of successful titles. We’ve also worked with famous anime and manga series to create mobile game titles based on those franchises. Our goal is to keep evolving our games and deliver them to fans in Japan as well as all over the world. In 2016, we announced the launch of the global version of our live streaming service, KLabGames Station. This weekly program delivers the latest breaking news on KLab’s online mobile games in English via Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Twitch.
What are some of your most popular games, especially here in the Middle East?
Our foray into the Middle East has been extremely promising and exciting. Enthused by the response of the people, we launched the Arabic version of our live streaming service, KLab Games Station which was available in Japanese, English, and French. This weekly program delivers the latest breaking news on KLab’s online mobile games in Arabic via Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Twitch, and Periscope. Some of the most popular of of our games are Captain Majid (The Arabic version of Captain Tsubasa) and the 3D hack-and-slash action game, Bleach. We are delighted to see the region responding to our games in a big way. At the recently concluded Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC), we received tremendous response to our gaming stations and gave us the motivation to grow and innovate further in the region. The Dubai qualifier of the Captain Tsubasa: Dream Team Dream Championship 2019 also took place at the event and the winner will undertake a trip to Tokyo, Japan to participate in the Dream Championship Finals to be held later this year.
How has gaming technology changed over the years?
Just like with everything else, technology used in the gaming sector is changing as well. Without being too technical, I would say the main issue here in the region is that the number of Arabic titles on app stores is quite low. In fact, if you look at the regional app stores, they are similar to other app stores around the world-these are occupied by renowned international titles. However, this is slowly changing as both developers and platforms have come to understand the positive impact that localization has on sales.
What does the future look like for Klabs and for gaming, in the region?
KLab’s future in the region looks bright and loaded with promise. In tune with the times, we are preparing three exciting games to be released this year, which promises fun, excitement and entertainment for all our gaming fans. As for the gaming scene, well, it’s evolving and changing, and we look forward to being a part of this growth.