Gaming revenue in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is expected to nearly double by 2021 to reach $6 billion by 2027, according to the latest Future of Trade 2023 report from the Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC).
The report, titled “Gaming in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena): Gearing up for growth,” says a young and digitally savvy population, high levels of digital connectivity, and government support are driving the region as consumers and creators center.
Gaming and esports are both fast-growing consumer segments, benefiting from rapid technological advancements and wider and more inclusive audiences.
UAE and Saudi Arabia
The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead the region, backed by high income levels, strong digital engagement and public investment initiatives. Globally, the Asia-Pacific region holds the largest market share, with China, the United States, and Japan being the largest individual markets.
The report gathers contributions from key industry leaders, including Jad El Mir, Partner at Strategy&, and Klaus Kajetski, CEO and Founder, YaLLa Esports, to identify key drivers of accelerating industry growth in the MENA region and beyond. It also examines the impact of gaming and esports from a technological, cultural and business perspective, covering global consumer trends, the emergence of the Middle East and North Africa as a gaming and esports hub, and the key challenges the industry needs to address to further grow revenues.
The report outlines a set of key recommendations for governments and businesses to guide the global industry’s accelerated growth from nearly $200 billion in revenue in 2021 to $340 billion in 2027, namely:
• Diversify esports revenue sources from sponsorships to new direct-to-fan monetization models including digital marketing, loyalty programs and training platforms for amateur gamers to grow revenue.
• Develop appropriate regulatory safeguards to ensure privacy, security and online safety in the digital gaming ecosystem and provide a business-friendly environment – including a smoother visa system to allow esports professionals and spectators to attend live events – — Attract talent to the region and elevate the region to become a global industry leader.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DMCC, said: “Gaming has become a global leader in entertainment, driving rapid growth, especially in the Middle East and North Africa region. Regions now account for 15% of the global player base. The rise of gamification in education, healthcare and other sectors is testament to the role games can play in fostering economic activity more broadly. Ensuring accelerated growth in the games industry will be critical to the future of global markets as well as trade The future of the gaming industry will have a significant impact. As the DMCC seeks to cement Dubai’s reputation as a global trade and economic hub, the opportunity to effectively activate the gaming industry will be critical.”
One of the most watched segments is esports, with MENA esports revenue expected to grow by 23.3% between 2019 and 2024. This trend is driven by the region’s young population, the involvement of international broadcasters and sponsors, and government support. To tap this economic potential, DMCC has partnered with Dubai-based professional esports organization YaLLa Esports to launch DMCC Gaming Center in December 2022. The hub supports the growth of Dubai’s industry by providing gaming businesses with access to global capital, leading industry talent, and an ecosystem that enables them to operate efficiently and confidently.
Due to the UAE’s strong business environment and infrastructure, as well as its status as a gateway to the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, several international game developers have set up their regional headquarters in the country.
the core element
Ubisoft is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, while gaming giant Tencent, along with Riot Games, has its Mena headquarters in Dubai. In Saudi Arabia, the country has made gaming a core element of its Neom project and has invested over $1.7 billion in the gaming industry.
The special edition of DMCC’s Future of Trade report follows the July 2022 release of its flagship biennial report, which lays out the key drivers of global trade over the next decade. The Future of Trade report series has been downloaded and viewed 1.3 million times. — trade arab news agency