RIYADH: A Saudi Arabian gamer has turned his passion into a flourishing career, which has allowed him to settle his father’s mortgage.
“I will never forget how my father was very touched when I lifted that burden off him and how proud he was with me that I was capable to help him and help others,” TMFaisal told Arab News.
The gamer, recognized globally for his content, has 4.84 million subscribers on his YouTube channel and 1 million on Instagram.
The 28-year-old started recording himself in 2012 playing his favorite games and uploading them on social media platforms.
He started playing underrated games on YouTube like “The Sims 4,” and others in the horror and comedy genres, and quickly found viewers because of his reactions and jokes.
“Creators were afraid of posting new unpopular games other than ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Minecraft,’ and I believe I’m one of the creators who encouraged others to explore new gaming content,” he said.
The variety of his content and introduction of fresh gaming trends, while maintaining his comedic persona, has set TMFaisal apart. He has attracted young gamers who identify with him.
He also reviews new games and collaborates with several companies including Sony and Microsoft that produce PlayStation and Xbox respectively.
“Companies cooperate with me to market their games and test them before the release date so that their clips are ready before the embargo date.”
“I don’t just promote games … my audience is also interested in the tech and food products that I promote.”
TMFaisal’s opinionated reviews cover graphics, storylines and gameplay.
“People trust me and my judgment, so if I’m not honest about a game review, I risk losing that trust,” he said.
“Companies started calling me from abroad so I could travel to their conferences and see exclusives before the rest of the world,” he added.
A graduate of Jeddah University with a major in information technology, the gamer’s main income is his content through social media. “Social media is a great source of income but risky if not studied right. Your fanbase grows up over time so the content creator needs to renew his content every year to keep up (with) the change in the culture.”
When he was younger, he used to save his allowance to buy compact discs. However, as gaming progressed, he became interested in games using computers.
“I was a gamer since childhood who wanted to work in the video-game industry, and with the rising of gaming content on YouTube I found my passion in making gaming videos. So I took my time to learn the technical side of creating a channel and using the right equipment to start recording.”
TMFaisal praised the Kingdom’s efforts to create a gaming community with events such as Rush and Gamers8. “Gaming events are innovative, and every event raises the bar of entertainment. I think it’s great that KSA is investing in the gaming industry as it establishes new opportunities and jobs in the area.”
Saudi Arabia has not only been hosting huge events for gamers, but has also launched an ambitious new business training program to help promote the e-gaming sector.
The “Game Changers” initiative, being led by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, offers apprenticeships to participants, and helps them find jobs in the industry or establish startups.
The program offers participants an academic and practical qualification, an opportunity to create a games studio, a grant of up to SR70,000 ($18,600) at the incubator stage, or an employment opportunity with a leading company in the field.