MENA Gaming and Esports Market Soars: Key Insights from Next World Forum


  • The MENA gaming and esports market is booming, with 87 million gamers set to spend over $2.8 billion by 2026.
  • The recent Next World Forum in Riyadh showcased the region’s gaming potential, emphasizing collaboration and inclusivity.
  • Investment, cooperative agreements, and futuristic hubs like NEOM are driving MENA’s gaming and esports growth, making it a global contender in the industry.

The MENA gaming region (KSA, UAE and Egypt) is witnessing unprecedented growth in the gaming and esports sector. According to Niko Partners, a leading authority on the Asian and MENA games industry, the number of gamers in the MENA region is set to reach 87 million by 2026, with a projected spending of over $2.8 billion. This staggering growth has not gone unnoticed, as government agencies and event organizers have been quick to respond with conferences, exhibitions, and esports events.

Next world forum: a glimpse into MENA’s gaming future

The Next World Forum, held from August 30-31, 2023, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, served as a crucial platform for industry leaders to converge and discuss the future of gaming in the region. With more than 1,000 delegates in attendance and a multitude of high-profile speakers, the event underscored the MENA region’s commitment to the gaming and esports sector.

Collaboration drives MENA’s gaming success

One standout feature of the MENA gaming landscape is the spirit of collaboration. The Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) signed cooperative agreements with several other MENA markets, including Qatar and the UAE. This cooperative approach, devoid of competition, is instrumental in propelling the region forward in building a robust gaming and esports ecosystem. Currently home to 21 million gamers, the MENA region is projected to generate over $1 billion in player spending on video games in 2023.

Inclusive growth: women in MENA’s gaming scene

MENA’s gaming sector is embracing inclusivity. There has been a significant shift in cultural policy, with women actively participating in the industry. Female gamers now represent 32.6% of gamers in the MENA region, and their presence is complemented by success stories among women esports athletes. These developments align with the broader commitment to diversity and inclusion in the region’s gaming landscape.

Investment fuels MENA’s gaming ambitions

Investment plays a pivotal role in shaping the MENA gaming and esports market. Recent changes in investment policy have paved the way for the National Gaming & Esports Strategy, which pledges nearly $40 billion to develop the domestic games industry and support a portfolio of game companies. The increased focus on esports has also paid dividends, with 73% of MENA gamers engaging with esports in some capacity.

NEOM: a futuristic hub for gaming innovation

Riyadh’s NEOM, the Line Experience is a futuristic city along the Red Sea that is quickly becoming a hub for gaming innovation. NEOM has formed a joint venture with MBC Group to create the region’s first AAA games development studio, with more companies expected to relocate in the future. This strategic move highlights the region’s commitment to nurturing a thriving gaming ecosystem.

Regional events foster growth

Beyond the Next World Forum, various events across the region have contributed to the growth of the gaming and esports industry. The Dubai GameExpo Summit showcased the UAE’s ambition to establish a vibrant gaming ecosystem. Meanwhile, Egypt hosted the Insomnia Gaming Festival, emphasizing government support and substantial prize pools for esports tournaments.

The MENA gaming and esports market is undoubtedly on an upward trajectory, driven by collaboration, inclusive policies, and strategic investments. As the region continues to nurture its gaming ecosystem, it stands poised to become a global gaming powerhouse. With the Next World Forum serving as a testament to the industry’s potential, stakeholders and enthusiasts can eagerly anticipate the exciting developments that lie ahead.

The MENA region’s gaming and esports market is a thriving and dynamic landscape, with substantial growth prospects and a commitment to inclusivity and innovation at its core. As the industry continues to evolve, it is poised to leave a lasting impact on the global gaming stage.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Randa Moses

Randa is a passionate blockchain consultant and researcher. Deeply engrossed with the transformative power of blockchain, she weaves data into fascinating true-to-life next generation businesses. Guided by a steadfast commitment to research and continual learning, she keeps herself updated with the latest trends and advancements in the marriage between blockchain and artificial intelligence spheres.

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