Capitalising on the gaming industry
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

Capitalising on the gaming industry

It's time we take gaming seriously.

Do you play games on your mobile? Have you been eyeing the latest gaming console?

The gaming industry across the world has been growing with 2.5 billion gamers across the world. That’s a third of the world playing games on their devices.

As per new research from NewZoo, 2019 will see $152.1 billion being spent on games globally, witnessing a 9.6% increase year-on-year.

In the UAE, this is expected to reach $326.7 million in 2019 — and $4.4 billion by 2022 — as per reports by Abu Dhabi’s Media and Entertainment Free Zone Authority, twofour54 and other media.

The market is poised for immense growth and this is not going unnoticed by institutions. Dubai Internet City (DIC) signed on Tencent Games to set up its Middle East office in Dubai. At GITEX, DIC was reported to be eyeing more industry players to the Emirate.

“We announced earlier this year that Tencent will opening an office in Dubai Internet City, and the reason being that they want to develop content that is for the region. And they see the potential that is in the region.”
Ammar Al Malik, managing director of Dubai Internet City told Gulf News

Drivers for growth

Mobile gaming remains the largest segment of the industry in 2019, growing by 10.2% year on year. With the mobile phone penetration in the Middle East increasing, the market too is growing.

According to media reports, the demand for gaming laptops and other devices supporting the industry were said to spike at GITEX Shopper last month.

VR devices becoming more commonly available are also a big driver of the trend, as people are looking for new and better gaming experiences.

On the industry side, eSports are moving into the mainstream, as per Goldman Sachs. Their report showed the popularity of survival-based games, improving infrastructure for pro leagues, improving internet connections supporting live streaming and growing prize pools for eSport tournaments have been giving a massive push to the industry.

Looking forward

The growth and implementation of 5G is, of course, expected to support the industry growth.

While compared to the rest of the world’s gaming industry, MENA makes up a small segment, it is seeing one of the strongest growth rates. The market still remains relatively untapped.

However, this is likely to change with institutions and regional authorities attracting international players as well as supporting home-grown players.

What’s more interesting is the market for Arabic games that are designed for the regional market. The demand for Arabic content is on the rise too, and with these two demands combined, startups or bigger entities can take advantage of the favourable market conditions.

Startups such as Tamatem from Jordan and Cryptyd from Egypt are great examples of those who are tapping into this market. Babil Games, another Arabic gaming startup that was headquartered in Dubai and Jordan, exited in 2016 in an acquisition by Sweden’s Stillfront Group.