Today, the MENA region’s domestic market is the fastest growing in the world, touting over 377 million estimated players – this is almost as many gamers as all of Europe combined (386 million) and much more than America (210 million).
Along with this booming global success, there’s more and more local development talent sprouting in the area and creating for the local players, with Tamatem, one of Jordan’s leading developers that was founded just in 2013, now having a total value of over $80 million while specialising in localising internationally renowned games to suit Arabic-speaking users.
The growth in this region is beyond impressive, and it’s expected to reach new heights – a recent report suggests the MENA games market reach more than $5 billion by 2025, with a majority of this growth fuelled by increased spending by current gamers, time spent in-game by users and surging advertising revenue according to the report by RedSeer. This is being linked back to a growing interest from consumers that are typically underserved in the region, spanning various demographics such as females and Gen X, as well as the overall gaming market boom provided by the pandemic over the past few years. Another report by Business Wire also believes that growth will also be driven by higher spending per user, and additionally attributes government support across games and esports.
There’s a reason why Saudi Arabia is known to be the 19th biggest gaming market in the entire world, which is no easy feat for a country with only 34.81 million people that touts over 21.1 million gamers. In Saudi Arabia, 89% of the Saudi population is gamers. It is the highest per capita globally, according to Saud Al-Tamimi, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission. In the Kingdom alone, the video games industry revenue is expected to reach over 1 million USD in 2022. The games industry in Saudi Arabia is currently experiencing a massive 41.1% year-on-year growth.
As if this wasn’t enough to get all eyes shifting toward the Saudi market, almost a quarter of the Saudi online population in the country plays mobile games at least five days a week or more! This is a highly engaged player community that has yet to have its full potential tapped into, and it goes without saying that there is potential for big financial gain in the region. Many Saudi players aren’t afraid to spend big on gaming. 32% of Saudi gamers are average spenders on mobile games, compared to Western Europe’s 18%, and 12% are considered big spenders.
The market growth in Saudi Arabia is generally attributed to gamers looking to fill their time, socialising and making friends, and escaping everyday life. However, the Saudi government’s push for embracing technology is what has truly accelerated the growing esports industry in the Kingdom. It’s predicted that the Saudi Arabian esports market will grow by a whopping 250% over the next eight years.
According to the Middle East North Africa Games Market Report 2022, “Saudi Arabia is the gaming powerhouse of Arabic-speaking nations in MENA, balancing population size with high spending power yielding the highest revenue.” There is no time like the present to start making contacts in this evolving market that is on a fast track to becoming a global player for the games industry.