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MENA games market continues to outpace global growth as it surpasses $7 billion in revenue

Get to know the MENA market ahead of the Dubai GameExpo Summit 2024, coming up on May 1st and 2nd
MENA games market continues to outpace global growth as it surpasses $7 billion in revenue
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Feb 29, 2024 other Steel Media Ltd MENA Games Market Report
  • Newzoo reports MENA games market revenue grew by 4.7% in 2023, compared to global growth of just 0.6%
  • Niko Partners said the MENA-3 region alone generated $1.92 billion last year
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It's been nearly a year since we published our last article exploring the explosive growth of the games industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) territory. With its continued status as the fastest-growing games market in the world - and showing no signs of slowing down - a lot has changed in that time.

So let's catch up on the latest developments for the MENA market and how it looks in context with the global games industry.

According to games market intelligence company Newzoo's Games Market Report and Forecast, the global market reached a total of $184 billion in revenue in 2023, marketing 0.6% growth year-over-year.

The MENA region, meanwhile, enjoyed a 4.7% rise in revenue to $7.1bn Y/Y for the same period. The market now accounts for a 4.7% share of total revenues globally.

Looking ahead, Newzoo forecasts that global revenues are projected to reach $205.4bn in 2026. That potentially equates to a market value for MENA in the region of $10bn the year after next. And that's the kind of number that makes us so excited for the territory's future.

MENA-3 is the magic number

Earlier this month, Niko Partners published its third annual MENA-3 video games market report covering the three leading markets in the region: Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt.

“The MENA-3 video game market amassed a total revenue of $1.92bn in 2023, marking a 7.8% Y/Y increase.”

As we reported previously, Niko Partners states that the MENA-3 games market amassed $1.92bn in revenue last year, marking an increase of 7.8% Y/Y. That's significantly higher than the general MENA growth as supplied by Newzoo above, making these three countries a notable hotbed of activity.

That's why we chose the UAE's most populous city, Dubai, as the location for our GameExpo Summit, which returns to the city on May 1st and 2nd.

After a triumphant debut in 2023, welcoming over 1,250 attendees, the two-day games industry event returns alongside the Esports and Games Festival at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Partnering with the Dubai Economy & Tourism department (DET), the conference will feature more than 100 speakers bringing you the latest data and trends, as well as an essential update on the growth and potential of the MENA market.

You can sign up now to be notified when tickets go on sale.

Smartphones and esports

Niko Partners reports that smartphones remain the most utilised device for gaming in MENA-3, with 87.2% of gamers preferring the handheld device. Mobile also boasts the highest average weekly gaming duration, totalling 8.7 hours.

“There are over 420 million Arabic speakers globally, which makes it the No. 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.”
Lisa Hanson, Niko Partners

It forecasts MENA-3 revenues to rise to $2.65bn by 2027, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2%.

The total number of gamers reached 68.4 million in 2023, indicating a 2.9% Y/Y rise. That's expected to reach 79.6m by 2027, with a five-year CAGR of 3.7%.

Niko Partners' report also stated that the MENA-3 region shows strong engagement with esports, with 73% of gamers doing so in some capacity. This engagement, it said, will "likely catapult the region alongside global esports giants such as Singapore and China".

“There are over 420m Arabic speakers globally, which makes it the No. 5 most spoken language in the world," said Niko Partners CEO and president Lisa Hanson.

"Paying attention to and participating in the games industry in MENA will help companies succeed globally as well.”

Companies to keep an eye on

With such impressive growth for the region, we launched the inaugural PocketGamer.biz Top 30 MENA Game Makers right at the end of 2022. The list takes into account a wide string of factors, from financial performance and download numbers to review scores and game quality, plus innovation, cultural/industry impact and forecasts.

The Top 30 MENA Game Makers list makes for impressive reading and features companies like Tamatem, Jawaker, Maysalward, Babil Games, Nine66 and Sandsoft Games.

One of those was even the winner, but we won't ruin the surprise...

See for yourself!

After a triumphant first year in 2023, the Dubai GameExpo Summit powered by PG Connects returns on May 1st to 2nd, 2024 alongside the Dubai Esports and Games Festival at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The summit will feature more than 100 renowned games industry speakers from all over the globe delivering insightful talks, panels and seminars across a number of themed tracks. 

There will be extensive networking opportunities for anyone looking to get established in the region, whether you're a developer looking for a local publisher, or interested in exporting a hot new game from MENA to find a global audience.

Tickets will be available very soon, but in the meantime you can register interest.