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MENA games market projected to exceed $5bn by 2025 

August 25, 2022 at 2:06 pm

People play video games during the International Digital Game and Entertainment Fair’s Gaming Istanbul 2018 event in Istanbul, Turkey on 1 February, 2018 [Berk Özkan/Anadolu Agency]

The gaming market in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region is expected to increase 19 per cent to over $5 billion by 2025, according to a June report by consultancy firm RedSeer. The region’s gaming community is also projected to reach 20 million over the same period.

A large part of this growth has been attributed to an increase in spending by current gamers, time spent in-game by users in addition to surging advertisement revenue.

In the case of Saudi Arabia, which is already establishing itself as an important gaming hub of the Gulf region, 60 per cent of the adult internet users are into gaming, representing 16 million players in the kingdom.

Specifically, the gaming market across Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt is expected to be worth $3.14 billion by 2025, according to California-based market research and consulting firm Niko Partners. Last year, the gaming revenue across these countries was valued at $1.78 billion.

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According to a report in March by BusinessWire, growth in this industry will also be down to government support for games development and esports. Governments in the Gulf region in particular have been encouraging localised game development and participation in competitive gaming.

In February, Saudi Arabia’s aspiring tech hub NEOM announced a joint venture with Dubai-based MBC group to create “the first AAA games development studio in the region”, which will “produce high-production-value games for local, regional and international gamers”. The kingdom has already made several high-profile acquisitions and investments of prominent gaming developers and brands.

The Saudi Gazette noted on Tuesday how Saudi gamers are increasingly sharing and creating content on the popular app TikTok, where in the first quarter of 2022, the top 100 gaming hashtags in the MENA region gained 105 billion video views on the app.