- Title: Jordan video game designers bring ''Arabised'' content to growing market
- Date: 5th April 2017
- Summary: AMMAN, JORDAN (APRIL 2, 2017) (REUTERS) CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER AT TAMATEM, DAVID JOHN DAVID, WORKING ON A GAME GAME LOADING ON COMPUTER SCREEN AND PLAYING
- Embargoed: 19th April 2017 12:29
- Keywords: Jordan Amman gaming video games smartphones Arabic
- Location: AMMAN, JORDAN
- City: AMMAN, JORDAN
- Country: Jordan
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Video Games
- Reuters ID: LVA0026B4E6HH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The cars are emblazoned with Arabic slogans and the boy-racers driving them sport the region's fashions as they race down a desert highway.
This is a video game especially tailored for the Arab world - a market that, according to Amman-based gaming company Tamatem, has been neglected for too long.
"Less than 1 percent of the content available on the internet is in Arabic. And when it comes to smartphone content, the results are even less than 1 percent," said Tamatem CEO Hussam Hammo.
"There are more than 100 million users of smartphones in the Arab world, and this number is expected to grow very quickly, so there is a large gap in this market that must be filled â€¦ we decided to start Tamatem to bridge this gap."
The company specializes in "Arabising" popular international games, not only translating the language but also inserting relevant music, characters and cultural references.
"It is a great feeling, seeing your product on the Apple Store or the Play Store, and to see people downloading it and playing it. Seeing people in the streets who say they are playing a Tamatem game, it is a wonderful feeling," said game designer Hanin Suradi.
The young employees are often found in a dimly lit room, competitively testing out new games, such as Tamatem's own car-racing game "Shake the Metal" which simulates the reckless driving style known as "drifting" popular among many young Arabs.
"Many young people in the Gulf 'drift', and we saw a lack of games that address this hobby," said Chief Technical Officer David John David.
"This (game) is to try and encourage the young not to do this in real life, and to provide them with entertainment. The (game) is culturally relevant, be it in the way they decorate their cars, the colours they use or the music they listen to as they drift."
As for the language, the company had to choose what variety of Arabic would appeal to gamers across the Arab world.
"It was difficult at first for a team of young Jordanians to use the different dialects of various Arab regions. So when we founded the company, to fulfil our aim to promote Arabic content, we decided to use classical Arabic in a way that will be accessible for everyone," said CEO Hammo.
Founded in 2014, Tamatem - Arabic for tomato - has 26 employees, mostly Jordanians under the age of 30 and has plans to expand.
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