Video games have been a huge deal in the Middle East, since the release of the first Sony PlayStation console; the region’s gaming culture has been on the rise. Over the last five years, with the introduction of mobile gaming, the market has changed dramatically.
The biggest problem the Middle East’s market faces is how underserved it is. There are over 60 million users in the region and less than one percent of games on the App Store and Google Play are in Arabic. According to Strategy&, the mobile games market in the region is expected to triple in size by 2020 and 60 percent of Arab users prefer Arabic content.
Saudi Arabia is the region’s largest targeted market by mobile game developers; the country’s population generates around $350 million in yearly revenues from mobile games.
According to Statista, revenue in the mobile games segments in Saudi Arabia has amounted to $84.6 million since the beginning of 2016. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 8.36 percent, resulting in a market volume of $116.7 million in 2020.
Research has shown that 22 percent of mobile gamers in Saudi Arabia pay $10-$50 per week on average. Arabic is also the fourth biggest language in the world and the App store only has 250 games in Arabic, compared to more than 400,000 games in English.
Digi-Capital has predicted that over the next five years the games market will change, allowing virtual reality to highly penetrate the market. This might only apply to countries such as the US and China, the Middle East’s market is still growing and is greatly lacking tailored games.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) currently have a growing population of more than 400 million who only speak Arabic, with more than half under the age of 25 years old. So, imagine this…tapping into a huge market with more than 200 million mobile phones and a very strong social media presence. The possibilities are endless!