BEIRUT: Teenage culture is commonly defined as a stress-free period; where worry is centered only on school grades, parties, video games, and journeys of self-discovery and experimentation.
It’s been debated as being the best time to be alive, far from the pressures of career paths, making a living, and the responsibilities that follow.
This, however, is not the case for 17-year-old James Chamoun, who’s attempting to translate his passion for gaming into his first steps in Lebanon’s rapidly-growing entrepreneurial scene.
He developed Gliq, a social media platform catered specifically for gamers that contain a myriad of features from a text-based chat system and voice calls, to be able to stream eSports tournaments.
“Gamers currently look for content and ways to connect on different platforms; YouTube and Twitch for video content, IGN and GameSpot for reviews, etc; what we did is combine all those features into one outlet, where players can connect with each other, read news, live stream and follow their favorite esports teams,” Chamoun told Annahar.
Gliq basically inserted everything a gamer would need into this app, such as a news feed, text and audio chats, and live streaming, to make it the hub for gamers to have their very own exclusive social media platform crafted for them.
The 17-year-old initially started to develop the app on his own for iOS, then sought out help from a locally-based app design company, to help him in developing a version for Android.
However, following numerous problems and delays with the design firm, Chamoun took the entire venture into his own hands to work on polishing the app and add more features to it.
The app is laid out similar to other social media platforms, having a newsfeed section where gamers can connect with friends who would share anything from photos, videos, status updates, and reviews.
“Our newsfeed is set up like other social media platforms, where you can follow your friends, celebrities, and professional gamers, hopefully pushing for exclusive content to be created specifically for the app,” he explained.
Something that we integrated into our platform is a community section, where gamers have the ability to type in the game they’re playing, and the app will automatically connect them with other people that are playing the same game for a chance to team up.
Usually, gamers look at a number of trusted sources to keep up with the latest news, reviews, and feature stories about the gaming community; but Chamoun took that a step further by integrating a news section into the app that provides a plethora of content from trusted sources such as IGN, Polygon, and GameSpot.
Where there is gaming, there is eSports.
“You can’t have one without the other, so we added a live stream section to the application to allow gamers to live stream and watch international eSports competitions through a click of a button,” Chamoun said.
Gliq has recently teamed up with the Arab Gaming Championship, which organizes the biggest eSports tournaments in the MENA region, which would allow players to watch the games played through the app.
From a more local perspective, Chamoun is looking to partner up with game lounges across Lebanon to gain as much visibility and traction with gamers as possible.
“We still didn’t consider looking toward international partnerships since we want to fully polish up the app, clearing it of bugs and certain problems that still linger in it,” he told Annahar, adding that the company is booked to attend Collision Annual Startup Conference in New Orleans, which brings together the biggest names in the gaming industry in hopes of setting up helpful connections.
“What we are currently looking for is an early stage investment so we polish the app on all cylinders and start a proper marketing and community outreach strategy to acquire new users,” he said.
The self-taught programmer considers the app’s chances of survival within the social media sphere look good, since there are no competitors that purely focus on gamers and mesh together all the features Gliq has to offer.
“Even though people consider Lebanon to be a weak market for video games, it’s mainly due to its small geography and population number, the gaming culture here is massive but still untapped, with a potential to grow regionally,” Chamoun said.
So far, the app now sports 2,800 users, with numbers steadily growing with aspirations of being the number one gaming platform supporting the entire MENA region.
“I see a lot of potential in the market, there is a huge user and gaming culture base in the region that would propel Gliq to being a gamer’s number one choice of platform, which is dedicated solely to them,” Chamoun told Annahar.
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