Industry Updates

'SAMENA Daily' - News

Metaverse to add US$15 billion to GCC economies by 2030

The metaverse could contribute around $15 billion annually to GCC economies by 2030, according to a study by Strategy& Middle East, part of the PwC network.

Saudi Arabia is expected to account for more than half of this figure, standing to gain $7.6 billion, while the UAE is expected to receive $3.3 billion. This reflects that aggressive efforts of both countries in leveraging the metaverse in their respective national programmes, the report noted.

Qatar is next with $1.6 billion, followed by Kuwait ($1 billion), Oman ($800 million) and Bahrain ($400 million).

Strategy& also highlighted that although the metaverse is still developing, the pace of change is swift. Therefore, organisations in the GCC should act now and seize the opportunity.

“The metaverse holds a world of possibilities that extends beyond next-generation gaming and internet-based home buying or shopping,” said Dany Karam, Partner, Strategy& Middle East.

“It will change how we work, transact, plan, design, build, shop, recreate, travel, and live. In a regional context, the metaverse’s potential to energize and transform key sectors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is enormous.”

The metaverse is the latest stage is the advancement of the human/computer interface, one that is designed to create a seamless, pervasive, immersive, touchable, simulated experience so realistic as to parallel reality.

In July 2022, Dubai formally launched its metaverse strategy, with the aim of the emirate becoming a leading metaverse economy. The strategy is designed to add $4 billion to the economy and result in 40,000 new jobs over the next five years.

Additionally, the UAE has established the Middle East’s first metaverse incubator 8 to develop early-stage metaverse and Web3 applications.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion city on the Red Sea – NEOM, uses the metaverse to inform construction and provide architects, engineers, designers and others, an experience that allows for collaboration and customisation.

NEOM’s digital subsidiary has created a metaverse that allows people to be simultaneously in the city and the virtual world, in the form of an avatar or a hologram.

The Strategy& report also identified travel and tourism as the sector with the potential to reap the greatest economic gain from the metaverse: an estimated $3.2 billion.