Oct-23-2012 is the date to mark on your calendar. On that date, Xbox Live services will be launching in UAE and KSA with on-demand content for the region!
Here is an official quote from Aman Sangar, currently the only Xbox official in the region:
“With the launch of Xbox LIVE in both the UAE and KSA, we’re able to offer Xbox 360 fans a premiere on-demand content offering that’s entirely new to the Middle East…This is only the beginning as we will continue to roll out more service. It marks another step toward our vision for LIVE – to deliver innovative entertainment experiences and exciting new ways to keep in touch with people you care about, wherever they are around the world.”
Pricing in the region has been reported to be 210 AED for a 12 month subscription, although you can most probably still use international Xbox Live cards from services such as Maximus Card.
The most important thing about this service is the content. If the UAE and KSA stores are just a heavily cut-down version of the UK and US stores then expect players (including myself) to overlook the existence of the service in the region and register themselves under the US or UK (case in point, the UAE PSN Store). The promising thing here is that content was mentioned in the official announcement leading us to expect that it would be tailored for the region.
More good news is that incase the UAE and KSA stores show promise, you can always switch over your XBL account from one region to another. But be warned, this process is a gruesome six weeks long
with the in-ability to login and the chance to permanently lose some or all of your downloaded content.
Skepticism and pessimism aside, I applaud and thank Xbox for the effort, and wish them all the best in the launch. We are happy to see them interested in other regions around the world and will gladly offer them a supporting hand.
Aman Sangar from Xbox Gulf hinted at the possibility of XBL in the region in past interviews with us, but kept a secure lid on the matter.
Update: Microsoft confirmed to Destructoid that you can still use your account when migrating and asked people to wait until an automated tool is released
Source: IGN ME Destructoid
“Anybody can apply for account migration, but we’re working to automate this function. This is a pilot program that takes time to process each account.”