Gaming revenues in MEA to reach $7.2bln in 2023; Saudi Arabia emerges as key player

Gaming revenues in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are expected to reach $7.2 billion in 2023, with Saudi Arabia emerging as a key player in contributing to the overall growth of the sector.

According to the Global Games Market Report by video game and gamer data firm Newzoo, the worldwide industry is expected to generate revenues of $187.7 bn in 2023, reporting a 2.6% year-on-year growth, with this number to rise to yearly revenues of $212.4 bn by 2026.

Mobile will remain gaming’s most significant segment by consumer spending, accounting for just under half of the entire global market, with consoles emerging as the market’s second-biggest segment, generating $56.1 billion in 2023 to make up 30% of the entire market.

“The number of players will surpass 3.3 billion [in 2023], with more paying gamers also entering the fold,” said Tom Wijman, Lead Games Analyst, in the report. “After the market swerved in a corrective direction in 2022 following the pandemic, 2023 will see the market grow once again.”

Wijman attributed this growth to several highly anticipated delayed titles that were launched in 2023, with more scheduled for release in H2, along with the supply of new consoles finally catching up to demand.

Saudi gets gaming

MEA accounts for 17% of global players, with 574 million players and a 12.3% year-on-year player growth, the highest recorded worldwide.

According to the report, factors driving this growth include an enhanced mobile internet infrastructure, accessible and affordable mobile internet, and the rise of the middle class.

The availability of gaming as an affordable recreational activity, thanks to the free-to-play model and the increasing population of smartphone users, is also contributing.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as the leader in gaming investments in the MEA region, with the country’s Social Development Bank (SDB) estimating the value of the video games market in the Kingdom currently valued at $1 bn with plans to boost the market value up to $2.5 bn by 2030.

The Newzoo report also attributes the growth of the industry in the region to companies such as Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games Group, which has dedicated nearly $8 bn to acquire and establish ownership in global games brands. The company also boasts a substantial $38 bn fund to facilitate future ventures in the sector, with Savvy’s investment activities including securing a stake in China’s esports agency VSPO, Sweden’s Embracer Group, and acquiring the US-based Scopely. also owns ESL FaceIt, an organiser in the esports sector.

Currently, Saudi Arabia is also playing host to Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, a gaming and esports festival with a prize pool of $45 million.




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