One Region, Many Voices: Riot Games’ Approach to Celebrating Cultures in the Middle East and North Africa

Sep 11, 2021
min read

Including diverse fanbases as a tenet of product marketing

Riot Games is proud to be a global company, but we never want to lose sight of all the differences that the globe contains. While we’ve invested heavily in our regional offices around the world, we know that the very idea of a “region” can paper over cultural, linguistic, and historical differences within it. Those offices work very hard to pay attention to all of their players, meeting as many of them as possible where and how they live. Just as Riot as a whole sees the globe as a diverse set of regions, each office sees its area as a diverse set of players. That’s how we’re able to hyper-focus on them so well.

As an example, in the region we call MENA (Middle East/North Africa), Arabic is a common language, but local dialects vary greatly. It is one of the most storied places in the world, with histories dating back to the beginning of civilization. Riot has a dedicated office there, located in Dubai, and that team knows better than anyone that servicing such a diverse player base requires a diversified approach.

So the Riot MENA office thinks about the region, not as a monolithic block but one with distinct subregions and various dialects. Of course, even these distinctions can’t cover all the local nuances of this amazing part of the world. But by embracing this diversity as much as they do, the Riot MENA team can weave together experiences that draw inspiration from many sources within the region.

For instance, when the team put together a music video for VALORANT as part of Eid, the final day of Ramadan celebrations, they made sure it included multiple languages and featured local mainstream artists from each of three major subregions:

  • Issam Harris, a beloved trap artist from North Africa, a subregion with significant cultural influences from nearby Europe
  • Marwan Moussa, a driving force in the changing landscape of rap in the Levant, which includes Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean, the most populous part of the region
  • FAFA, an up-and-coming Emirati-Hondurian singer and songwriter from out of the Gulf countries, considered the “melting pot” of MENA and a hub for business, innovation, and technology

Riot has produced a lot of music videos, but they tend to encapsulate a single style. By pulling in different artists from different areas, even from within the same business region, we can express the breadth of their cultures to the widest possible number of players at the most localized level. That’s hyper-focus.

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