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Esports career: Going from engineering to bringing PUBG MOBILE and Honor of Kings to millions

Abdallah Al Ghifari is senior Esports manager for MENA at Level Infinite. In this role, Abdallah works on projects related to PUBG MOBILE and Honor of Kings, supporting the growth and success of the Esports scene. Trained as a civil engineer, Abdallah has shown how passion and determination can lead to a successful transition to the gaming industry.

Abdallah representing Level Infinite at an industry event in April

From competing to casting

Like many other people in the gaming industry, I love gaming, and have loved it from a young age. One of the things that really helped me was having a family that believes in you, including parents and my uncle. My uncle helped by beating me at games, making me fired up to one day win, which eventually happened when I got older. 

The emotional support from my mom was also key. She was happy and proud of me when I won a small prize of an energy drink at a gaming tournament. This is a far cry from the thousands and millions of dollars seen in esports prize pools these days, but it meant the world to see my family happy for my achievements.

Thanks to the environment I was in, I was able to hone my skills as a gamer, netting me an esports contract at the age of 17. This opened up a new world for me, giving me the opportunity to travel to places like China, Jordan, and Spain to compete against other professional players. I stopped competing four years later, but this experience was key in preparing me for a career in esports. I wanted to stay in the industry, and tried my hand at casting.

Abdallah on stage at the recent UAE Google Gaming Day 2024
It is not a given that a pro gamer will be a good caster, and it still requires a lot of work to switch over.

Just like how many great football commentators used to be professional players, esports players have that advantage switching over to a casting role. However, it is not a given that a pro gamer will be a good caster, and it still requires a lot of work to switch over.

This is also where the work ethic, learnt from getting good at a game, applies to all other areas. I started out being a terrible commentator, but got to a point when I was landing projects from organizers that heard me casting. Not being good at something is natural if you don’t have enough experience, but having the determination to keep working at it will help you move forward.

Building foundations—literally

Even with my experience as a pro player and caster, my professional life was not related to gaming at all. I was trained, and worked as a civil engineer. But it really surprised me that during the interview process at Level Infinite, one of the interviewers told me that my civil engineering experience indicated that I’m a builder. 

In that life, we are building bridges, roads, tunnels, but the skills learned from doing that can be applied to building teams, creating tournament projects from scratch, and so on. This also showcased how diverse and developed the entire esports industry is, as there are jobs in so many disciplines. 

If you come from marketing, we need that here. If you are a chef, we even have a role to make sure players get the right food when they travel, ensuring they are in the best condition possible for their matches.

The growth of esports on the world stage—and explosively in MENA—is something I’m delighted to be a part of.

This journey has led me to be able to work on some of the biggest games in the world right now, PUBG MOBILE and Honor of Kings. I’m proud and happy, as an Arabic speaker based in MENA, to play a part in bringing these games to the region. Like many other games, these were not originally made in Arabic, and need to be properly localized. Localization is not only translation work; these games have to be culturally relatable to the Arabic-speaking audience, too. 

The growth of esports on the world stage—and explosively in MENA—is something I’m delighted to be a part of. There’s satisfaction in knowing that what started out as a passion can lead to a fulfilling career in the industry, and I believe anyone with the right mindset and determination can be a part of that too.

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