Sanya Weathers recently got in touch with Fadi Mujahid, general manager of a Dubai-based company called Game Power 7 which has localized the free-to-play MMO Rappelz for the Middle East/North African (MENA) market. In fact, to the best of our knowledge, Game Power 7 is the first company to focus on the MMO industry in the Middle East and North Africa to date.
Mujahid explains to Weathers how Game Power 7 made these first inroads to the MENA market, from market research to localization efforts (adding 'Middle Eastern touches' to the characters and other changes to make the game less offensive to the market's cultures), to getting the word out about the Arabic version of Rappelz.
Perhaps most interesting is that Weathers imparts some of what she's learned about Game Power 7's views on social responsibility. Weathers writes,"They're wrapping up a campaign in which the monsters drop literacy promoting materials in addition to loot, and they've set up a team to deal directly with concerned parents." Weathers also writes that Game Power 7 plans to publish another 3 MMO titles in 2009 beyond Rappelz, part of their goal of being "a one stop shop for the MENA region, with their own development teams as well as the localization and publishing divisions."
This may well be the birth of a new MMO market, and Sanya Weathers has the lowdown in her article "The beginning of the Middle Eastern MMO scene: Game Power 7 and Arabic Rappelz".