An exclusive interview with PLG’s Matthew Pickering

We recently had the opportunity to interview Matthew Pickering, Chief Executive Officer at Power League Gaming.

GDGTME Team  •  July 30, 2022

An exclusive interview with PLG’s Matthew Pickering

We recently had the opportunity to interview Matthew Pickering, Chief Executive Officer at Power League.

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and Power League Gaming?

Power League Gaming (PLG), the MENA region’s leading and most disruptive Esports and Gaming company, is responsible for some of the largest Esports and Gaming activations to date. We produce strategies and platforms which help our clients and their brands build relationships with Arabic gaming audiences.

For the past decade, PLG has been at the forefront of the Gaming and Esports sector in the MENA region, directly shaping and influencing the way in which gamers, publishers, and brands interconnect throughout all layers of the value chain.

PLG is considered the MENA region’s premiere full-service Esports and Gaming company, providing an end-to-end solution for brands seeking to enter the Gaming sector successfully and Publishers looking to engage audiences, whether this be through Esports events, content creation, influencer activations or omni-channel ecosystem development. Amongst its portfolio of brands and partners, PLG can include Pizza Hut KFC, Beiersdorf (NIVEA), Huawei, Michelin, L’Oreal, adidas, Logitech, Razer, STC, Nestle, Riot, EA – to name a few.

How do you see the growth of esports and gaming in the Middle East region, specifically the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

Esports & gaming is the fastest growing media vertical in the world, with a combined value that eclipses both the box-office and music industries.

Within this, MENA is the most rapidly accelerating territory, with a YOY CAGR of 17 – 20% estimated until 2030.

Can you give us some insights into the rise in streaming/content creation in the region?

When compared to the beginning of 2021, the end of the year saw a 30% increase in streaming activity across the MENA’s footprint. We saw an elevated behaviour stemming from GCC content creators in this region.

As a data and insight-driven gaming and eSports company, we are senseful for spikes in activity such as this. Overlay with our knowledge of the difficulties in starting out a streaming career, and the pitfalls with young content creators and their parents face in terms of technology requirements and software knowledge, lead us to a clear direction that a resource such as Stream School would be a highly beneficial tool to the next-gen of Arabic content creators and steamers.

PLG has an active agenda to upskill the next gen of creators in the gaming space. We build programs to make the link between gaming, eSports, and the education systems and their students, so Stream School was a logical addition as our newest education IP, within our ‘gaming education portfolio.

Will we eventually see an English version of the Stream School series?

Yes. The Stream School IP has been designed to export into multiple languages and geographies, providing a free platform and resource to transfer skills to budding content creators.

We currently have English, Hindi, French, and German in development for release over this calendar year.  Each series of Stream School is comprised of Beginner (series one), Intermediate (Series 2), and Advanced (series 3). So, watch this space.

What are some gaming trends we can look forward to in 2022?

Mobile gaming will continue to expand, with popular console and PC game variants being reimaged for mobile.

Next-gen console games will finally release using new motion mechanics such as the next-gen Unreal 5 render and build aesthetics, making them more realistic and immersive than ever before, and naturally, we will see more mainstream brands connect with us to build valuable relationships between the brand and Arabic gaming audiences.

Tell us more about PLG Studios, your content production studio.

The PLG studio is a one-of-a-kind facility in the region. A studio with the capacity to produce incredible online experiences, brand activations, content, and digital platforms, for brands to connect with Arabic gaming audiences.

It’s spaced over 10,000 Sq ft, making it the largest gaming and content gaming content creation environment in the region.

We designed the Studios to be a place where creativity can flow, which helps our design, strategy, social and digital and production teams create some of the most disruptive content and experiences in the gaming and esports space. It also serves a mean coffee from the PLG Café.

How would you describe the current gaming landscape in the MENA region?

In one word, I’d say it’s exciting. As the World’s premiere hyper-growth territory, we are afforded the ability to push boundaries in the gaming and eSports experiences we design for our partners, clients, and their brands.

We consistently build new IPS and platforms, to address the needs of the region’s rapidly expanding gaming community with a keen focus on entertaining, engaging, and upskilling audiences, both male and female.

A few examples of these would include our owned female gaming IPs and platforms – Miss eSports, and Saudi Girl Gamer (both leading the female gaming segment – 40% of the MENA gaming population).

The Buzz (our podcast on Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud), Stream Heroes (our pro streamer content platform), and of course our education vertical, the EMU (Esports and Media University), within which we operate outsourced curriculum for several schools and colleges, and of course Stream School, our newest IP.

And finally, what games are you currently playing?

Call of Duty Warzone.
Fortnite, with my 8-year-old boy Tom (who’s far better than me)

We would like to thank Matthew Pickering for his time in answering our questions!

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