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Gaming to contribute $6 billion to MENA’s economy by 2027

UAE and Saudi Arabia lead the gaming industry internationally, driven by high income levels and strong digital engagement.

Gaming to contribute $6 billion to MENA’s economy by 2027
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

With the MENA region’s gaming industry experiencing rapid growth and boasting 377 million players, which is nearly on par with Europe and significantly surpasses the player count in the US, the industry is poised to contribute $6 billion to the region’s revenues.

According to a recent report titled “Gaming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Geared for growth” by Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), gaming revenues in the region are projected to double by 2027. The report, part of the Future of Trade report 2023, highlights that the industry’s rapid growth is attributed to a technologically adept new generation, widespread internet access, and government support.

UAE and Saudi Arabia emerge as the leading nations in the gaming industry, with a substantial youth population actively engaged as consumers and creators. High-income levels, strong digital connectivity, and significant public investment initiatives primarily drive the industry’s growth in these countries.

Furthermore, the report highlights that the Asia Pacific region holds the distinction of being the largest global market for gaming. Within this region, China, the United States, and Japan stand out as the largest individual markets in gaming consumption and industry development.

As per the report, the Asia Pacific region is recognized as the largest gaming market globally, with China, the US, and Japan being the prominent individual markets within this region.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, said, “Gaming has come to the fore of entertainment globally, driving rapid growth, especially in the MENA region, which now constitutes 15% of the global player base. Ensuring the accelerated growth of the gaming sector will have a measurable impact on the future of markets around the world, as well as the future of trade. 

“As DMCC seeks to solidify Dubai’s reputation as a global trade and economic hub, efficiently activating opportunities within the gaming sector will prove essential,” he added. 

ESports is considered a highly monitored segment, expected to achieve a remarkable 23.3% revenue growth between 2019 and 2024. The DMCC report emphasizes the need for governments and businesses to diversify revenue streams in the eSports industry. It suggests exploring new direct-to-fan monetization models such as digital merchandising, loyalty programs, and training platforms for amateur gamers to enhance revenues.

The report emphasizes the importance of developing appropriate regulatory measures to safeguard privacy, security, and safety within the digital gaming ecosystem. Additionally, creating a business-friendly environment is highlighted as a crucial aspect for fostering growth in the eSports industry.

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