New Astrolabs Report Saudi gamers and game developers show strong confidence in government support for growth of gaming industry
AstroLabs in partnership with IMPACT46 and PLAYHERA, has released the 2023 Saudi Gaming Market Outlook Report. This first-of-its-kind report provides a comprehensive outlook on the Saudi electronic gaming potential directly from the market, with in-depth insight from local gamers, game developers, and industry pioneers.
The report collated insight from 130 surveyed gamers and game developers in Saudi Arabia to identify the most attractive opportunities for the industry. It offers a deep dive into the interests and habits of gamers and evaluates the skills and capabilities of game developers. Additionally, the report highlights the sentiment within the Saudi Arabian gaming ecosystem, gauging perspectives around critical topics such as government support, funding, infrastructure, and market opportunities.
The extensive report found that the conditions of high growth for the Saudi electronic gaming market are significantly favorable following the latest boost of global interest in the sector as supported by the Saudi Vision 2030 mandate. The survey found that 81 percent of gamers and game developers in Saudi Arabia are highly optimistic about the growth of the gaming industry in the upcoming year. This comes as a result of heightened global and local investment in the sector where the Saudi government remains the highest protagonist.
Following a bold integration of electronic gaming into the Saudi 2030 Vision's economic diversification and employment growth mandates and the subsequent launch of the Saudi Esports Federation, the Saudi government remains the most significant enabler of the sector. More than 60 percent of Saudi gamers and game developers exhibited confidence in government support, with the majority believing that government investment is the biggest opportunity for the growth of the electronic gaming sector in 2023.
The government support of the sector has been a Kingdom-wide effort where key stakeholders like the Savvy Games group, the MCIT, and even Giga projects like NEOM have built their own support streams in the form of investment, acceleration, and skill building. These initiatives offer great promise for the Saudi gaming industry, as the report shows that more than half of surveyed game developers are, in fact, self-taught.
Accelerating current studios and upskilling talent at a national level present core opportunities for the growth of the Saudi gaming sector. This is intensified by the ripe and relatively young ecosystem of game developers in Saudi Arabia, where almost 80 percent of surveyed game producers had up to 5 years of experience in the industry. Nonetheless, revenue generation remains a high priority, as the report shows that 48 percent of surveyed game developers do not generate any regular income from their work in the industry.
The report also revealed an almost equal split in popularity of PC and PlayStation as gamers’ favorite platforms in Saudi Arabia. Interestingly enough, while the majority of surveyed Saudi gamers are spending up to 20 hours of gaming a week on their favorite platforms, 51 percent of all survey respondents believe that there’s a high demand for locally-developed mobile games. The rapidly growing sector has generated great success for Saudi developers like UMX Studio, which constituted 1 of 5 case studies in the report. Locally developed Mid-core mobile games seem to be Saudi’s next frontiers, as expressed by 54 percent of survey respondents.
The Kingdom’s recent announcement of investing $38 Billion into its gaming industry through its Public Investment Fund aims to establish the Kingdom as a global hub for electronic gaming. Being one of the largest consumer markets of electronic games in MENA, the Saudi gaming ecosystem exhibits many remarkable feats, including its young population, competitive infrastructure, and unprecedented support.
The 2023 Saudi Gaming Market Outlook provides a powerful tool of knowledge for effective global and local investment to build the next wave of Saudi gaming success.