The MENA-3 video game market - Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt - amassed a total revenue of $1.92 billion in 2023, marking a 7.8% year-over-year increase. This figure is projected to rise to $2.65 billion by 2027, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2%.
All three countries monitored experienced growth in their games markets in 2023.
The total number of gamers reached 68.4 million in 2023, indicating a 2.9% year-over-year rise, and is expected to reach 79.6 million by 2027, with a five-year CAGR of 3.7%.
These latest figures come from the third annual MENA-3 Games Market Report & Five-Year Forecast from Niko Partners which also shows that 71.5% of gamers in the MENA-3 region participate in Esports activities from watching Esports content, playing Esports games, or competing in amateur or professional tournaments. Government backing for Esports also serves as a significant catalyst for growth in the area.
Saudi Arabia as a gaming hub
Saudi Arabia stands as the largest market by games revenue within MENA-3 and is widely regarded as the gaming hub of the region, contributing over half of the regional revenue in 2023.
“There are over 420 million Arabic speakers globally, which makes it the #5 most spoken language in the world. Paying attention to and participating in the games industry in MENA will help companies succeed globally as well,” said Lisa Hanson, CEO and President of Niko Partners.
The report goes on to show that smartphones remain the most utilised device for gaming in MENA-3, with 87.2% of gamers preferring the handheld device as it also boasts the highest average weekly gaming duration, totalling 8.7 hours. Niko's findings also include the top three most played IPs in the MENA-3 region - PUBG, EA Sports FC, and Call of Duty - which are enjoyed by two-thirds of all gamers.
“It is imperative to recognize the growth in the MENA games markets, study the local players and ecosystems, and implement a localized strategy to take part in the growth that governments are planning for and supporting, particularly in Saudi Arabia, UAE and other GCC markets," said Hanson.
You can access the full MENA-3 Games Market Report here.