This week on the Full Stack Leader we’re talking with Maysalward Founder and CEO, Nour Khrais.
Nour Khrais Founder and CEO of Maysalward and Chairman of Jordan Gaming Task Force with over 22 years of international experience in the top leading Online and Mobile Value Added Services companies. Before forming Maysalward, he worked in a multicultural environment between VAS companies in Jordan, UAE, Egypt, Qatar, and France.
Under a Glocalized vision, in Nov 2003, KHRAIS Launched the first Mobile Game Development operation in the Middle East Region, offering unique Casual games targeting the Middle East and Emerging Markets.
Developed the First Arabic Mobile Game in 2004, his startup has created high-quality mobile games with a hundred thousand daily active users enjoying the Free to Play games it’s offering.
KHRAIS a certified Scrum Master and holds a Master’s Degree in International Business, Global Marketing, and Internationalization, Diploma in Mobile Telecommunication, and BSc in Agriculture Engineering. His passion for games and mobile entertainment enforced by a strong business vision and management in mobile value-added services guarantees the success and uniqueness of product and service production.
We hope you enjoy the episode. You can find even more Full Stack Leader episodes here: Full Stack Leader
If you’re interested in learning more about Maysalward and what they do you can visit their site here: https://maysalward.com/
Ryan: welcome to this week’s episode of the Fullstack Leader Podcast. Again, we’re here at South by Southwest 2023, and I am talking today with no price. He is the founder and CEO of Maysalward
Noar: the company name. So Maysalward, which means the pride of the lion, the pride of the lion. And
Noar: us what, where you’re from.
I’m from Jordan. we’ve been doing mobile games for the past 20 years. Amazing. And, uh, thank you for hosting.
Ryan: Yeah. I’m, I’m glad to have you here. So I know you work on Unity platform. Are you, what other, uh, platforms you’ve been building games on? We’ve
Noar: been doing. Since 20 years, mobile games since 20 years.
So we started so Native, native, native. We started with Java, J Tome, then went through qt, uh, and now we are working on a cross platform like Unity. Okay. To build our own ips and publish our own games on the app source.
Ryan: That’s amazing. You must be . Amazed by like , the directions that gaming is going over the next little bit.
Noar: It’s crazy. It’s crazy. compared to the, you know, the, the years where we started gaming, in the eighties up to what we are seeing today, it’s uh, it’s amazing. I was
Ryan: wondering, I know, I know that the different platforms that gaming is happening on are changing, and we’re gonna talk a little bit about that.
But, does, does it also affect the actual game engines themselves and the mechanics of the games?
Noar: Definitely today. Today with, uh, with the engines that we are working on, whether Unity or Unreal or whatever engine today is helping us to build our food base, we are more focused on the ideation and the creation of the game design, which in the past used to.
Have a be secondary. Be secondary. Right? Exactly. And now, now this, this is the beauty of the gaming industry today. You have more focus on giving a story, uh, more investment, the game design, more investment. And the challenge today is how to monetize, the whole, game set. and that’s, that’s the biggest.
you, do you find
Ryan: you’re having to do a lot of third party, integrations to be able to complete the full cycle of the games?
Noar: Definitely. In the past it was uh, much harder to integrate third parties. Yeah. Today it’s a plug and play and it is necessary to have this integration type of integration to monetize better, to acquire users.
It’s very challenging Today, we live in a, a world that’s very competitive when it comes to games. Hundreds of thousand every day. And without this, integration with third parties, it’s a nightmare.
Ryan: Yeah. I, I can imagine. are you focused on acquiring users mostly in Jordan and the Middle East, or are you looking worldwide?
Noar: I, I think worldwide, uh, acquisition is, uh, you know, we, we know tier one countries are the, the countries that makes the most of, your income. US is on the top always, and open tier one country. Cause countries like Asia. Tough to acquire users and, and, and to monetize. but there are some emerging markets, these days, like the MENA region where I come from, where we have the largest growth that is happening in the world, in the mobile gaming.
It’s amazing and a huge investment that’s coming from the region towards, uh, mobile gamers. Cause we are mobile first as region. And I think this is where we started to acquire more and more. And, retain them, which is the biggest challenge also, to keep them within your gameplay. you, do you think it’s,
Ryan: a specific category of game that’s doing really well, like casual gaming or, uh,
Noar: ca casual games are 70% of the market and, and, and most of the investment that ourself we are doing and a lot of gaming studios all across the world doing, to basically to entertain.
And I think what happened in the, and during Covid in. It’s two years. We had, we received new type of gamers, right? Yeah. And this is where the, what is called the hyper casual game started to pop up. And today we have the hybrid hyper casual and where you have, you know, uh, an age group where we as, as mobile game game developer, we did not see, which is 60 plus 65.
We started after Covid to see those gamers playing. And not only playing and and retaining themself within the gameplay, within the, the games itself. So now the bigger challenge
Ryan: is, is is that group, is that group doing a lot of in-game currency conversion? Exactly. Exactly. That’s, that’s interesting.
Exactly. Cause I think of that more as a, a
Noar: teenager type. Of course the teenagers are that are, ad oriented in terms they will see rewarded videos inside you game. They will tap on a, an ad, but they will not. But the more we go into 35 plus, 60 plus, they are purchasing actually enough purchases to, to maintain their, liability inside your game.
Ryan: That’s amazing. Okay, so let me ask you this then. If you think about where the gaming industry is headed over the next like 10 years, we’re looking at a lot at 2030 and like, what’s, what’s gonna happen? Seven, eight years from now, what do you think are gonna be some of the big technological changes?
Noar: I, I think we will be more immersed inside the games. Uh, I, I believe, you know, we, we are now witnessing the beginning of the metaverse which includes blockchains, NFTs, vr, ar, and I think we will be living more inside the games. We will have, I always, uh, joke about it when we, we test you.
You’ll be running in a, in a, in a field and smelling the flowers around. Or diving in a sea and feeling that you are inside the water, it’ll be more. and uh, as we saw it in the Cinema 4d, we’ll have more 4D aspects in the games. I think, um, and the ownership, there will be more ownership in the user generated content.
The, the user is fed today by telling him what to do inside your game. Now they want to create their own avatars. They want to create their own content and be part of your success, and this is what we’ll be seeing in the upcoming 10 years. Do you, do
Ryan: you think in those changes, ,,,You as a game developer, game creator, especially with a worldwide audience, are gonna have a lot of responsibility in the way that people digest them as they become more immersive.
Noar: I we should basically take this responsibility because otherwise, we will be, you know, the enemy of our own. Of our own innovation, and I think we need to basically cater for different age groups. the technologies today is accessed, accessed by several age groups, with no control.
That means we are harming, the community as, as a game developer today, and. We work with community. We, we help build capacity of young Jordanians in Jordan in terms of gaming. We teach them of this ethics inside the cycle of game development. Because it’s a must.
It’s a must.
Ryan: Yeah. It’s a must. It’s have, have you thought about how the hardware’s gonna adjust over the next little bit to support this?
Noar: Uh, I, I, I think we, we, we, we are seeing more and more, uh, especially on the mobile, side. We, we see how more powerful the devices are coming. And how the OEMs, the manufacturer, are focusing more on giving more, uh, computer power to their devices.
That helps. Yeah. and the word is turning into, you know, uh, eSport these days and eSport is more, more, more power flow, more popular than ever. Yeah. so we see there is a, you know, we used to be fragmented in the past. We used to developers work alone OEMs, they have own plans, uh, you know, hardware, they have their own also plans.
Today everyone is working. and which is very important for the success of the industry.
Ryan: Going back to the metaverse question or the metaverse topic a minute, do you think there’s a tipping point in which the devices become ubiquitous, like mobile devices did and people will be going into the metaverse?
Do you think that’s coming soon?
Noar: I think it is coming soon. It is because otherwise, uh, this will be, uh, a dangerous, entrance to the metaverse. People are expecting this in their hand. They’re expecting to experience this, uh, inclusion in the technology with their life. And I think, we are seeing more and more, Technology, adaptation, whether from leaders, uh, like Facebook or doing more Apple, we have rumor that Apple is entering also through the augmented reality. And we will see something soon. I think, yeah, that’s, that will be very, very, very soon. Do you
Ryan: think that these, uh, do you, do you think that these new options, new games, new device, Are becoming more accessible for people around the world.
I know living in the US like we, we obviously have pretty early access to things, but do you think it’s becoming more and more accessible?
Noar: Uh, I think we, uh, uh, the beauty of, we, we go outside of the gaming industry, we, we see in Africa, for example, mobile payment has been adapted before.
Anyone, anyone else? Ab Absolutely. Absolutely. So, so I think the beauty of the mobility, the mobile. Is accessible for a lot of people and we see the devices, the pricing, is becoming more affordable, uh, especially when it comes to Android devices. You see it more available in, developing countries.
And I think for the success of the technology, it has to be in the hand of everyone. Yeah. Has to be accessible for everyone. you know, we will have countries like the. and develop developed country to do the r and d and the consumer market where we want them to be part of the content creation cause without their content, the technology has, you know, no selling point within the, the culture.
Cuz whatever strategy we, we will put. The, the culture will eat our strategy on breakfast. Yeah. So that’s, why we have to, you know, be, uh, involved on a mass, market, not only, you know, developed countries.
Ryan: So la last question I have for you. it’s less to do with the technology side, but more to do with the storytelling side.
So do you think that the. There’s more of a globalization in the way that stories are being told, in the types of games that are being played. And we’re gonna have an infusion of more variety
Noar: in that. I’m a believer of globalization. Okay. I mean, things should go globally, but you always have to adapt to the local, local taste.
and we saw it with the McDonald, right? All across, you know, going globally and, and localizing their sandwiches within their markets. Gaming in, in the same manner. And I think, you know, we, we are witnessing this more and more and, uh, storytelling. You know, I come from a region where storytelling is, is part of our culture.
we had Romans, we had s in Petra, we have, you know, the history is there and big history is converted. You know, Disney were the first to adapt our history into the movies, and now we are doing it into gaming. And I think. To be successful, we have to take it globally, but when we take it globally, we have to act to the local market, whether US Asia or the MENA region, the Middle East.
So storytelling is, core in the success of your games, and you have to take it globally. Yeah. But you have to act locally, to be successful.
Ryan: Well, thank you. This was, an incredibly enlightening conversation. Thank you. I love talking about the future of, of, games and game development and where it’s going.
Uh, it’s been a pleasure to have you here. Thank you for hosting
Noar: me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Cheers. Thank you. Bye-bye.