Play Like An Egyptian – Reham Hesham El-Deeb Interview
We did a friendly interview with Reham Hesham El-Deeb about Egyptian game sector.
Salam alykoum. Greetings, first of all, we want to thank you for accepting our interview request. We want to send armful of greetings to Egypt which we acknowledge as a religious and historical ally.
Oyun Fest: First question, who is Reham Hesham El-Deeb and how did she start to get interested in games?
Reham: El Salam alykoum. I’ m the Business development and Marketing Executive for the System Development and Gaming Center of Excellence. I m a part of a large team with a unified vision which is “spreading the technological awareness of the Electronic games development among the Egyptian youth to enrich the Egyptian market with an Egyptian and Arabic content, thus preserving the Egyptian culture and identity.” The center offers different professional services, consultancy, training programs and coaching for local and Arab gaming companies, start-up, entrepreneurs, developer and students. In addition to contributing in research and innovation in digital gaming field industry by bonding and cooperating with international universities and hosting events to disseminate the latest findings in gaming technology and programming research fields. The gaming industry in Egypt is still at the very beginning and needs a community to gather all the participating parties and that’s where we come in.
OF: Which game would you consider as your favorite among the ones you have played?
Reham: The majority in our team favorites Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell and Angry Birds
OF: In the games those are going to be released in 2013, which one of them makes you more excited ?
Reham: Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 and gears of war: judgment and also I’m waiting for Fluff and Flair the First Two Games from our Center that will be release on Google Play store in First Quarter of 2013
OF: Can you give a bit more detail about the Information Technology Institute and Egyptian Gaming Community?
Reham: The Information Technology Institute (ITI) is a leading national institute, affiliated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). ITI initially set up to provide specialized software development programs to fresh graduates, has now developed to foster relationships with corporations, foundations, governmental organizations, and other partners to advance education, research, and innovation in areas of mutual interest and encourage technology transfer. Thus contributing in the development of the Egyptian ICT industry and achieving high ranks in ICT global competitiveness. www.iti.gov.eg The System Development and Gaming Center of Excellence has developed the Egyptian Gaming Community to gather all professional game developers, Game platform vendors and game enthusiasts where they share and exchange practices, gaming programming techniques, training programs and most recent games technologies. In order to broaden the Game Industry Market in Egypt.
OF: Egypt has currently experiencing a bit of a crisis at the moment. How does al-Thawrāt al-ʻArabiyyah effected the players and the game producers in Egypt?
Reham: The January 25 revolution has positively affected the Egyptian Gaming Industry. Surprisingly, it inspired a lot of Game Developers to develop games about it.
Also, The revenue of gaming companies increased due to the fact that universities and schools were stopped for a while.
OF: Games that are viewed as “not proper” according to Islamic rules, are getting banned in some countries, what do you think about this situation and are there any games like this in Egypt?
Reham: Until now, No games have been banned.The way we see it that, Every Game Developer should at least educate their Customers about the background story of the game before publishing it to avoid any misconceptions in the future. And then trust their choice for what is proper and what is not.
OF: What is the current situation in 1st National Gaming Competition Gaming Egypt 2012? Can you give more detail about this activity?
Reham: The essence of the competition was to start compositing a repository of games with the Egyptian History on the Mobile AppStores and on the PC AppStores.
The competition Theme encouraged developers to produce Arabic games into one of the 4 historical time pieces in the Egyptian History:
• The Pharaohs Era
• The French Campaign and the Egyptian resistance
• The 6th of October War
• The 25th of January Revolution and the political roadmap scenarios
50 Game Ideas comprising of 150 competitors have participated in the Competition, 20+ Game Ideas have been chosen in Round 1 and 15 was chosen in Round 2. The top 5 winning Games were announced on October 31st.
OF: As Turkey, to find a gamer female or a game developer female is really rare, as far as our observation goes, we can say there are nearly more female players than male players. According to most of the World, the Females in Islamic regions are regarded by their communities as second class people; at least we can say it as a taboo. Can we say Egypt is a really good example that breaks this taboo? How do Egyptian females take part in technology and in gaming industry?
Reham: With all due respect to the worldwide conception about females in our Region, I would say that Egypt does not have taboo especially in Information Technology. The Deputy and Acting Chairman of ITI is a Women. And the number of female Developers that apply and get accepted in the ITI 9-month scholarship program is more than 50 %.
In Egypt there is no gender discrimination especially when it comes to Technology and Gaming.
OF: And lastly, do you want to say something to our readers in Turkey from Egypt?
Reham: Egyptians really value Turkey in so many ways and hope to make this bond stronger in the future. In the end, I would like to pass to you our sincere gratefulness for this interview.