Saudi Arabia, UAE poised to lead region’s $6bn gaming sector: report

Saudi Arabia, UAE poised to lead region’s $6bn gaming sector: report
The report underlines that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are on track to enhance the regional industry, spurred by high-income levels, robust digital participation, and government and private investment initiatives. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 29 May 2023
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Saudi Arabia, UAE poised to lead region’s $6bn gaming sector: report

Saudi Arabia, UAE poised to lead region’s $6bn gaming sector: report

RIYADH: Led by a young and digital-savvy population, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are set to spearhead the Middle East and North Africa’s gaming sector, positioning it for a $6 billion valuation by 2027, according to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre’s latest study.   

The DMCC report titled “Future of Trade 2023 Gaming in the MENA: Geared for Growth” revealed that the region’s gaming industry is reaping substantial returns.   

“Among the most closely watched segments is esports, which is expected to post revenue growth of 23.3 percent between 2019 and 2024 in MENA. Fueling this is the region’s young demographic, engagement from international broadcasters and sponsors, and government support,” Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and CEO of DMCC, said.   

The report underlines that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are on track to enhance the regional industry, spurred by high-income levels, robust digital participation, and government and private investment initiatives.    

“Gaming has come to the fore of entertainment globally, driving rapid growth, especially in the MENA region, which now constitutes 15 percent of the global player base,” Bin Sulayem added.   

Saudi Arabia has been channeling significant investment into the gaming industry. Take, for instance, Savvy Games, a wholly owned Public Investment Fund entity, which agreed last April to acquire US-based gaming company Scopely for $4.9 billion.    

Moreover, Savvy Games also announced a $265 million investment into Chinese tournament operator and esports firm VSPO in February.    

Saudi Arabia’s esports tournament organizer, Gamers8, also disclosed a prize pool of $45 million for its 2023 event, billed as the largest figure in esports history.    

“The rise of gamification in areas such as education, healthcare, and other sectors has demonstrated gaming’s role in facilitating economic activity more broadly. Ensuring the accelerated growth of the gaming sector will have a measurable impact on the future of markets around the world, as well as the future of trade,” Bin Sulayem added.   

Earlier this month, Amsterdam-based MY.GAMES, a developer of mobile, PC, and console games, formed a partnership with the UAE’s AD Gaming and will establish its regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi.