DUBAI: Gamers8, one of the world’s largest gaming festivals, has been drawing crowds to Riyadh since July 6, including big names such as US entrepreneur Dhar Mann, and comedians Anwar Jibawi and Adam Waheed.
Based on the success of the event and the growing popularity of gaming in the Kingdom, research firm YouGov conducted a study into people’s gaming habits, as well as their attitude to the festival.
The study found that most Saudi residents surveyed have a positive perception of the festival, with 67 percent believing it “will strengthen the Kingdom’s standing as a future global hub for the gaming industry,” 64 percent saying it will encourage tourism within the region, and 63 percent believing it will help nurture gaming athletes and develop Saudi Arabia’s gaming community.
Most of those surveyed were interested in the event, with three in five saying they plan to engage in some way with the festival.
The multi-faceted event includes concerts, attractions and gaming tournaments.
Of the various events, people found e-sports competitions and tournaments the most appealing (55 percent), followed by cultural and entertainment elements such as live concerts (50 percent), family attractions (44 percent), community gaming events (42 percent), and educational workshops and masterclasses (27 percent).
Saudi residents are avid gamers, with gaming surpassing other activities, including watching live streamed video content online, listening to radio or podcasts, reading a newspaper or book, and streaming music.
When asked about the time they typically spend on gaming each week, the largest proportion said they devote around three to six hours (22 percent), followed by a fifth (20 percent) who said they spend two hours every week.
Smartphones are the top device used among weekly gamers in Saudi Arabia at 73 percent.
Gaming consoles are still popular, with 34 percent of weekly gamers using dedicated gaming consoles to play video games, while 33 percent use a desktop or laptop, and 25 percent use tablets.