Game On: Saudi Gaming Sector Set for High Growth with Government Backing and Mobile Gaming Leading the Way

AstroLabs has partnered with IMPACT46 and PLAYHERA to launch the highly anticipated 2023 Saudi Gaming Market Outlook Report.

This insightful report offers a comprehensive analysis of the potential of the Saudi electronic gaming industry, featuring valuable insights from local gamers, game developers, and industry leaders.

Drawing information from a survey of 130 gamers and game developers in Saudi Arabia, the report identifies the most promising opportunities within the industry.

It delves deep into the interests and behaviors of gamers while evaluating the skills and capabilities of game developers. Moreover, it sheds light on the overall sentiment within the Saudi Arabian gaming ecosystem, capturing perspectives on critical topics such as government support, funding, infrastructure, and market potential.

The extensive findings of the report indicate that the Saudi electronic gaming market is experiencing highly favorable conditions for substantial growth, primarily due to the increasing global interest in the sector, which aligns with the Saudi Vision 2030 agenda.

According to the survey, an impressive 81% of gamers and game developers in Saudi Arabia possess a strong sense of optimism regarding the industry’s growth in the upcoming year. This positive outlook is fueled by significant investments at both global and local levels, with the Saudi government playing a leading role in supporting the industry.

Through the integration of electronic gaming into the economic diversification and employment growth objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, as well as the establishment of the Saudi Esports Federation, the government has become a major catalyst for the sector’s development.

More than 60% of Saudi gamers and game developers expressed confidence in government support, viewing it as the most significant opportunity for the electronic gaming sector to thrive in 2023.

Government support for the industry has been a nationwide endeavor, with key stakeholders such as the Savvy Games group, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), and mega-projects like NEOM establishing their own support mechanisms, including investments, accelerators, and skill development programs.

These initiatives hold great promise for the Saudi gaming industry, especially considering that over half of the surveyed game developers are self-taught.

The report highlights the core opportunities for growth in the Saudi gaming sector, emphasizing the importance of accelerating existing studios and enhancing the skills of talent at a national level.

This is reinforced by the fact that the Saudi Arabian game development ecosystem is relatively young, with nearly 80% of surveyed game producers having up to five years of industry experience. However, revenue generation remains a top priority, as indicated by the report’s finding that 48% of surveyed game developers do not have a stable income from their work in the industry.

Additionally, the report unveils an almost equal preference among Saudi gamers for PC and PlayStation as their favorite gaming platforms. Interestingly, while the majority of surveyed Saudi gamers spend up to 20 hours per week gaming on their preferred platforms, 51% of all respondents believe that there is a high demand for locally-developed mobile games.

The rapidly growing sector has already witnessed remarkable success stories from Saudi developers like UMX Studio, which is highlighted as one of the five case studies in the report. Mid-core mobile games developed within the country appear to be the next frontier for Saudi Arabia, according to 54% of survey respondents.

Furthermore, the Kingdom’s recent announcement of a $38 billion investment in the gaming industry through the Public Investment Fund aims to position Saudi Arabia as a global hub for electronic gaming.

As one of the largest consumer markets for electronic games in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the Saudi gaming ecosystem boasts several remarkable features, including a young population, competitive infrastructure, and unprecedented support.

For the full report, please click here.

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