Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to diversify its economy, driven by its ambitious Vision 2030.

Seeking to diversify its economy away from oil, the kingdom has embraced emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), and has ventured into booming markets such as gaming.

But while China has yet to make a significant imprint on global gaming and AI development, the ripples from its gaming investments could extend far beyond — at least that’s what Web3 experts say.

“Based on our work and communication, Saudi Arabia is very, very interested in Web3,” Animoca Brands co-founder Yat Siu told Cointelegraph.

Given the kingdom’s partnerships with entities like The Sandbox and even Animoca, Siu believes the kingdom is trying to venture into a new era of the internet. The executive said:

“I think Saudi Arabia understands that Web3 games or blockchain games — the principle that we actually prove the owner’s assets — are going to be the future of gaming.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are driving the growth of the gaming market in the Middle East owing to the interest of tech-savvy youth. According to a Boston Consulting Group report, the kingdom accounts for 45 percent of the region’s industry, worth more than $1.8 billion. It also has one of the largest gaming revenues in the region, according to Head over to Allright, the game content studio.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia established the Saudi Esports Federation to regulate and develop the gaming industry in the country.

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Bloomberg report Saudi Arabia, through its Public Investment Fund, poured $38 billion into the industry in April, hoping to become a global gaming hub.

While the Saudi government understands the “advanced concept” of Web3, its potential, and how it could integrate with esports (teams could have a stake in the games they play), Siu said it’s unclear how its integration with gaming will be. What is the reason. Cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets lack clear rules:

“Cryptocurrencies are still to be explored. It’s being investigated. I think (Saudi Arabia) is very progressive about how to approach this. But they haven’t figured out anything yet.”

“In places like Hong Kong, Japan, and the UAE, there is a lot more clarity on what people can do with cryptocurrencies and Web3. You can develop a strategy,” Siu added.

While it remains to be seen what Web3 gaming applications in Saudi Arabia will look like, Siu noted that the country is looking at other markets and learning.

“That’s why they talk to us. Because they want to know what the best practices are and how to learn,” the executive explained. “There are few places in the world as eager to be at the forefront as we are.”

“You can feel the desire to advance and lead in Saudi Arabia. I think that’s unique,” Siu added.

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While resistance from traditional gaming communities and developers persists, Siu claims that successfully converting users to Web3, gaming or not, should require financial literacy.

“If you don’t have at least some level of financial literacy, beyond just having a bank account, then you can’t really be a real Web3 user,” Siu said.

Gamers in Saudi Arabia.Source: All Correct Game Content Studio

The Animoca co-founder claims that most Web2 users are not capital investors because they are mostly labor compared to investment-savvy Web3 people.

“We found that the path to mass adoption of Web3 is not just giving (Web2 users) a wallet. That’s actually the easiest part. The harder part is getting them to realize that what they now have is a potentially valuable An asset that does something and has different network effects needs to maintain its true value.”

Meanwhile, Mythical Games CEO John Linden told Cointelegraph that he has seen Web3 adoption in gaming, albeit at a slower pace.

“I think we’ve seen some (adoption). We’re seeing people introducing (Web3) concepts. They do understand the concept of buying and selling assets,” Linden said.

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The gaming industry veteran noted that Web3 should enhance the user experience, not just provide them with a means of generating revenue:

“(Web3 game developers) have to focus on new game modes. When you start doing that, it introduces creator economies, digital supply chains, guild ownership, and the ability to come up with your own theories within the game itself.”

“I think gamers live by those principles,” Linden added.

The CEO of Mythical Games predicts that the Web3 gaming space will attract 5 to 100 million players in the next two years, with their own game goal of reaching 10 million players by the end of 2023.