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Why gaming is a thriving $6 billion oasis in the Middle East

In the heart of the Middle East, an unprecedented transformation is transforming the gaming industry into a thriving oasis of change. With the gaming scene in MENA set to reach $6 billion by 2027, the once niche joysticks and pixels have become a strategically important powerhouse. From arcade games to full-blown immersive worlds and virtual reality, the gaming industry is not only growing; Gaming has become the next big thing.

The strategic oasis: the meteoric rise of video games

According Super data researchMENA e-gaming market was valued at $5.7 million in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 21.1% between 2023 and 2030. This growth rate is outpacing the global average , with a substantial annual growth rate of 25%.

Large corporations are recognizing the influence of gaming on cultures and economies, as exemplified by Saudi Arabia. Smart Playgroup, which invested approximately 142 billion rupees ($37.8 billion). As we can see, the gaming sector in MENA is expected to generate $5 billion in revenue by 2025, and the GCC nations will play a vital role in this growth. Through collaboration and co-hosting competitions, these countries can establish the region as a global hub for esports. Notably, in 2020, the global gaming industry was estimated to be worth $159.3 billion, significantly outpacing the film industry, valued at $19.1 billion, according to the analysis.

So what led to this meteoric rise?

The effect of the pandemic: a change in consumption and strategic initiatives

During the global pandemic, the gaming industry grew as people sought escape amid lockdowns. This trend, driven by increased free time due to remote work and limited recreational options, was evident in Twitchwhich experienced an 83% year-over-year increase in viewership, for a total of more than 5 billion hours in the second quarter of 2020, according to Streamlabs vs Stream Hatchet. Consumer spending took an unexpected turn and the gaming sector saw a substantial boost. As brands pivoted, Middle East took bold steps and revealed strategic initiatives that would redefine the game’s narrative.

The region’s strategic initiatives, including Dubai program for the 2033 game of Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohamed, will contribute an extraordinary $1 billion to Dubai’s GDP. Furthermore, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent initiative aims to attract 250 gaming companies to the Kingdom by 2030, injecting 39,000 jobs and 50 billion rials to the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP.

The pandemic success of the gaming industry is related to factors such as increased free time, the desire for virtual social interaction, and the inherent appeal of gaming. The Middle East strategic initiatives not only recognize the sector’s potential but also actively strengthen it post-pandemic.

Demographics and devices: the shifting sands of gaming

The gaming landscape is evolving, driven by demographic and device changes. Smartphone penetration in the Middle East, which will reach 92% by 2023, has democratized gaming, making it more accessible. During lockdowns, there was a 200% increase in users over 60 years old, joining the 93% of those under 18 years old who participate in regular games.

This increase in smartphone users not only expands the gaming community but also influences preferences and genres. Mobile games, renowned for their accessibility, drive genres on the go, with casual games like puzzles and trivia gaining popularity among both seasoned players and newcomers.

Meanwhile, with eSports At the forefront, brand endorsements have seen a substantial increase. Successful campaigns like KitKat’s ‘Give Gamers a Break’ in FIFA ’22 and Croc’s ‘Chill vs Sports Mode’ in Minecraft exemplify this growing trend, showing how gaming has become a dynamic platform for brand engagement and integration. .

Local impact, global collaborations: a confluence of forces

Games are not limited to borders; It is a global phenomenon. Brand collaborations like KFC’s limited-edition Gamer Box turned the Middle East into a playing field with international resonance. The recent partnership between global esports brand Nigma Galaxy and BMW Middle East emerged from the region’s initiative to develop local esports talent and promote esports on a global scale. This not only amplified the region’s participation in global gaming but also provided a platform for local talent to enhance their gaming skills.

Turn the game into a cultural and commercial epicenter

Over the past three years, the games have exploded, captivating hardcore gamers and non-gamers alike. Social and multiplayer games emphasize the social aspect, augmented by AR and VR elements in mobile games. Strategic initiatives, demographic shifts, advertising and global collaborations converge to make gaming a strong revenue-generating sector and cultural bridge. It demands attention and engagement, serving as an oasis of transformation, where every click and strategy extends beyond the screen.

Games are an oasis of transformation, where every click and strategy extends far beyond the screen.

News source: Communicate online

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