The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is among the world’s leading gaming and esports markets. Its gaming and esports industry is likely to witness a boom in the future due to its highly-engaged gaming audience, but one thing continues to limit its growth potential – poor network connectivity.
Within the $159.3 billion global gaming industry, projected to pass $200 billion by 2023, MENA is one of the fastest-growing gaming markets. The MENA gaming market grew 14.5% year-over-year in 2020, and is currently valued at $5.4 billion. Most of the future growth will occur in Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia as they have the highest populations of gamers.
In the past three years, the perception of video games has shifted. Video games are no longer seen as a waste of time or a harmful hobby. It is starting to be recognized as the rising industry that it is. In fact, many MENA nations are equating investments in esports to investments in their youth.
MENA nations are taking financial steps to support the growing gaming industry by investing in building arenas, training centers, elite esports coaches, and teams.
Saudi Arabia credits its robust and modern telecom infrastructure as the foundation of its gaming success. Unfortunately, not all regions experience the same quality of connection. Egypt, another surging market, refers to its network as its most significant disadvantage.
The rollout of 5G will help improve network conditions by increasing bandwidth, but that’s only half the battle. Bandwidth alone isn’t enough to support game traffic, which requires real-time, minimal latency traffic that isn’t impeded by network congestion.
To learn more about the benefits of expanded access, Subspace’s white paper can be downloaded to see how better networking can play a critical role in determining a game’s fate in a new region.
In the Middle East, Egypt has the highest gamer population at 68%, followed by the UAE (65%), Saudi Arabia (61%) and Iraq (57%). The four countries have bigger gaming populations than France, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Watching video game streams has become just as popular as playing them. Across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt streaming platforms like YouTube Gaming, Twitch and Facebook Gaming enjoy varying levels of popularity. The region’s highly-engaged audience presents a huge opportunity for game developers and console manufacturers.