Middle East emerging as hotspot in multi-billion dollar gaming market

25 August 2023 Consultancy-me.com 2 min. read
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The MENA region is emerging as one of the fastest growing gaming markets. With an impressive annual growth rate of 25%, the MENA market´s expansion is three times faster than that of China, at around 8%.

Around 60% of the population in the Middle East consider themselves gaming fans, with 65% of all MENA gaming concentrated in mobile gaming. In fact, up to 50% of all apps downloaded in the region are games, as compared with 40% worldwide. That is according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that examines the MENA gaming market.

The video game industry has become the second largest entertainment industry and is worth roughly $185 billion, with more steady growth expected in the midterm.

Middle East emerging as hotspot in multi-billion dollar gaming market

In recent years, the GCC in particular has become a hotspot, garnering new players and fans, as well a significant presence from both investors and industry players.

The gaming industry’s growth is driven by broader appeal, including mobile gaming that tends to attract all ages in Middle Eastern markets. Children and young adults remain a significant segment of the gaming audience, as they are the demographic cohort willing to spend as much time gaming as watching video content.

The MENA has a preference for mobile phone gaming over PC and console gaming in part due to mobile games being monetized mainly through advertising. That makes most mobile games free and accessible to players of all budgets. With mobile phone technology becoming advanced enough to offer high quality graphics and processing, more game-makers are offering top-of-the-line mobile versions of games that were previously only available on PC or console.

The gaming industry in the MENA region is estimated to have brought in $4 billion in revenue, with Saudi Arabia taking the lead with a market worth $1.8 billion, roughly 45% of the total value. Across all of the Middle East and North Africa, Saudi Arabia emerges as the top player in the game market.

Middle East emerging as hotspot in multi-billion dollar gaming market

The report highlights the role of Saudi Arabia as a prosperous entertainment market due to its strong gaming strategies, including a $38 billion investment in the industry and the creation of 40,000 new jobs by the end of 2030.

The Middle East, and the GCC countries in particular, are racing to become competitive in new technologies as they work to diversify their economies away from over-reliance on fossil fuels. All of the GCC countries have developed ambitious strategies to rapidly develop sectors like technology, finance, and tourism, reinvesting the fortunes made from oil exports.