$488 million Investment Pumps Up Saudi Arabia Gaming Industry

Saudi Arabia’s gaming industry has been given a major boost with a new investment of $488 million, as the country continues to establish itself as a prominent player in the gaming world.

The funding is being provided by the Saudi Esports Federation, National Development Fund, and the Social Development Bank.

It aims to support both the gaming and e-sports industries, according to Rawan Al Butairi, the senior director of international affairs at the federation, who spoke at the Leap technology exhibition in Riyadh on Wednesday.

At the Leap technology exhibition in Riyadh, the Ministry of Media and the Centre for Government Communication in Saudi Arabia introduced an apprenticeship program, collaborating with 30 businesses to provide training opportunities in 2023. Additionally, developer Playhera revealed a $100 million cloud gaming platform aimed at boosting the industry.

Meanwhile, US software development company Unity Technologies announced the establishment of the first Unity Academy in the Middle East and Africa.

At Leap, Faris Alsaqabi, the Deputy Minister of Future Jobs and Capabilities at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Saudi Arabia, stated that the creation of the academy represents the start of a new phase in which the country aims to become a leader in the gaming industry by 2030. Alsaqabi emphasized that this goal will be driven by the creativity and passion of citizens and gamers.

According to In Business, the gaming industry in Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Arab world, is expected to experience a 250% growth by 2030, with e-sports driving this expansion.

This would result in the industry’s contribution to Saudi Arabia’s GDP increasing by a factor of 50 by 2030 compared to 2022, as estimated by the London-based market research company.

Furthermore, the Boston Consulting Group recently predicted that gaming consumption in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2030, growing at a compounded annual rate of 22%.

It is worth noting that the Middle East is last among the five regions surveyed by Newzoo, with revenue pegged at $6.8 billion last year, accounting for 6.6 per cent of the global figure. However, it still posted the highest annual growth of 4 per cent in 2022.

Fortune Business Insights data indicates that the global e-sports market is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 21%, expanding from $1.44 billion in 2022 to $5.48 billion by 2029.

In September, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman introduced the National Gaming and Esports Strategy, which outlines a comprehensive investment plan for the industry with the aim of positioning the kingdom as a global gaming hub by 2030.

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