One of the first lessons in Entrepreneurship 101 is to find an underserved market and serve it, and that’s just what BreakAway Games and Quirkat have done with their Arabian Lords PC video game. Inspired by the rise of Islam between the 7th and 13th centuries, Arabian Lords is a bilingual strategy game targeted specifically at Middle Eastern players. Gamers take the role of an enterprising merchant lord, and through a combination of strategy and city-building, they try to grow their influence from just one palace to an entire ancient empire. As they gain prestige and wealth, they must engage in competition and shrewd diplomacy against rival factions while keeping their own customers and citizens happy and their communities thriving. Beggars, thieves and vandals can be sent to sabotage an opponent, for example, while musicians, poets and bards can be used to help a market flourish. Players are rewarded for successful negotiation and leadership, not military might or violence. Arabian Lords just launched in August, and is available across the Middle East. BreakAway is also considering launching the game in the US to tap into the Arab American market. Both Arabic and English versions are included on the CD, and gamers can match wits with up to four other players online or via a local network. Eleven scenarios are included, with detailed graphics and real-time action. Mahmoud Khasawneh, CEO of Quirkat, explains: “This is the first time an established player like BreakAway has expanded its development effort in partnership with a Middle Eastern studio like Quirkat, to bring to the region a unique blend of gaming quality and cultural and historical references. We are proud to be part of this pioneering effort and we hope to continue this partnership by producing more titles with Middle Eastern flavour. The demand is certainly there, and it is refreshing to see a game of this quality address regional storylines.” There are almost 200 million consumers in the Middle Eastern region today, and more than 33 million of them are online, according to Internet World Stats.* Where else are these savvy consumers being underserved….? Spotted by: Bjarke Svendsen * Note that Internet World Stats uses a fairly narrow definition of the Middle East, including only the following countries: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine (West Bank), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.