A new report by Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), titled Gaming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Geared for Growth, has delved into the state of gaming in the MENA region.
The MENA region is one of the fastest-growing gaming markets in the world, with mobile leading the way thanks to its affordability, accessibility and market penetration. The report projects that gaming revenue will approach $6 billion by 2027 - almost double the total for 2021.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are identified as the market leaders due to factors including high income levels, strong digital engagement, and public investment initiatives. Together with Egypt, these companies make up MENA-3, and all three countries are projected to generate a combined $3.14 billion in revenue by 2025, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8%.
The percentage of revenue and number of gamers throughout the three countries was identical, with Saudi Arabia commanding approximately 61%, followed by 30% for the UAE and 10% for Egypt, according to Niko Partners data..
The MENA-3 region is also expected to see a sharp rise in the number of gamers, climbing 31% from 65.3 million in 2021 to 85.8 million in 2025.
A booming region
The report notes a particular boom in 2020, which saw a 24% year-on-year increase in play time - 11% higher than the global average increase. This kicked off a period of strong revenue growth throughout the region, increasing at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2019 to 2024 to reach $4.1 billion - outpacing the global revenue growth of 6.4% over the same period.
Mobile gaming is identified as the largest gaming platform in the region, representing a 58% share of the MENA market. In comparison, console gaming represented 20%, while PC gaming represented just 3%.
Speaking to gaming outlet Mobidictum, DMCC evecutive chairman and CEO Ahmed Bin Sulayem stated, "Gaming has come to the fore of entertainment globally, driving rapid growth, especially in the MENA region, which now constitutes 15% of the global player base. 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 industry will have a measurable impact on the future of markets around the world, as well as the future of trade. As DMCC seeks to solidify Dubai’s reputation as a global trade and economic hub, efficiently activating opportunities within the gaming industry will prove essential.”
As part of its commitment to building its presence as a gaming hub, Saudi Arabia recently boosted its stake in top game maker Electronic Arts. DMCC is a sponsor of Dubai GameExpo Summit later this month.