The Gaming Industry In The Middle East is a Multibillion-Dollar Powerhouse On The Rise

Gaming Industry

The Middle East is quickly emerging as a global gaming hub, with regional powerhouses such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates investing heavily in the gaming sector. Despite being in its early stages, the Middle East’s gaming industry is already a multibillion-dollar Industry. According to www.casinoelarabs.com, the region’s iGaming sector yielded over $5 billion in revenue by 2023, which is expected to reach nearly $10 billion in the recently concluded fiscal year. Saudi Arabia dominates this lucrative regional market, commanding a 48% share.  

International and Regional Collaborations

In 2023, gaming revenue in the region experienced a significant surge, primarily attributed to intensified collaborations that took shape during this period. The sector grew consistently due to mergers, acquisitions, and B2B partnerships. These initiatives involved attracting venture investors and bolstering growth and private equity efforts. Many forward-thinking states prioritized leveraging digital transformation, especially during and after the pandemic, marking a key focus area supporting gaming start-ups.

In 2023, Mobily—Etihad Etisalat collaborated with Ericsson to enhance connectivity during the Hajj pilgrimage event. This involved utilizing cutting-edge technology, including advanced analytics, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). The Hajj period typically witnesses new data usage patterns and increased data traffic. The Ericsson-Mobily partnership introduced AI-driven digital infrastructure that leverages cognitive capabilities to enhance connection speeds, expand big data capacity, streamline automation, and optimize large-scale networks. As a result, it improved remote access for participants in the region’s gaming sector, including high-profile international and local eSports competitions.

The Booming Youth Demographic

The Middle East boasts a youthful and dynamic population, offering opportunities for innovation and economic diversification. A young demographic helps accelerate the adoption of new technology when the right conditions are in place. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a significant sixty percent of the population is below the age of thirty. This demographic plays a pivotal role in driving the gaming industry, and as the region’s culture transforms, both male and female players enjoy equal treatment on digital platforms. According to the Niko Partners survey, 32.6 percent of gamers in the MENA region are female, a remarkable statistic even compared to Western standards.

Gaming Market Segmentation In the Middle East

Access to smart electronic devices and increased internet penetration in the region have been vital to the gaming industry’s growth. This implies that gaming is available on various electronic platforms, including cell phones, PCs, and gaming consoles. As of 2021, the Middle East had roughly 8.3 billion SIM connections, which is expected to reach 8.8 billion by 2025. This explains the increasing number of consumers visiting mobile betting sites and online gambling platforms.
In rapidly growing economies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, high-speed internet infrastructure is available in large cities, increasing involvement in online game streaming. While the sector was sluggish before the pandemic, the lockdown measures imposed by the outbreak drove the acceptance of gaming culture, with user numbers and game downloads jumping tenfold.
This wide adoption produced segmentation in the region’s gaming market, with consumers in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, the UAE, Kuwait, Iran, and other MENA countries showing preference for different gaming platforms. Such segmentation has resulted in the Middle East becoming a multibillion-dollar gaming industry, with mobile gaming accounting for 60% of total revenue.

Government Commitment to the Gaming Sector        

Many Middle Eastern countries have tackled pre-existing prejudices and taboos regarding modern gaming. Such countries aim to capitalize on the burgeoning sector’s numerous benefits by being deliberate about its growth. Mohammad Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, is a key proponent of industrial development. He aspires to make Saudi Arabia the leading global gaming hub by 2030, and his ambitious objectives are supported by a major investment fund worth $3 billion by 2022.
The Saudi Arabia Investment Fund also promised the Savvy Games Group a $48 billion fund to drive the gaming industry in the kingdom. With such vast resources, Saudi Arabia hopes to create over 40,000 employees in the sector and 30 blockbuster game titles by 2030. Other countries with a hands-on approach to gaming industry growth include the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. 

Final Thoughts

According to a recent market report by Boston Consulting Group, the Middle East is a fast-growing gaming sector with the potential to dominate the global scene. According to the survey, nearly 60% of the region’s population actively participates in gaming, which accounts for 50% of gaming app downloads. This is ten percent over the global average. Indeed, the MENA region represents the future gaming market.

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