The kingdom is currently the 19th biggest gaming market in the world and is experiencing massive growth of 41.1 percent year-on-year, with more than 21.2 million gamers across the country
Saudi Arabia’s $1.09 billion Esports and gaming sector could be doubled or even tripled over the next three years, according to one leading industry player.
The kingdom is currently the 19th biggest gaming market in the world and is experiencing massive growth of 41.1 percent year-on-year with more than 21.2 million gamers across the country.
Internationally renowned gaming experts Webedia Esports Agency, through its local arm Webedia Arabia Group, which is based in KSA, UAE, and Lebanon, had acquired SaudiGamer.com last month.
“In two to three years I think we could double or triple the amount of gamers, the amount of money that is spent and even the revenue that is generated,” Kaswara Al Khatib, chairman of the board, Webedia Arabia Group and founder of UTURN – the Saudi digital media machine and the creator of entertaining and storytelling content – which is also part of group, told Arabian Business.
“I would say the $1.09 billion would easily be doubled if we start having our own gaming development and hosting our own tournaments and that is starting to happen so I think it’s only a matter of time until we reach that figure.”
Al Khatib revealed that, during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, there was an increase of 15-20 percent in the number of gamers in the kingdom, with 40 percent being females.
“You have gaming that happens through consoles, through laptops and PCs, even through mobile phones and I think this is what revolutionised the concept of gaming because it’s no longer on a console where you have to allocate certain period of time and you play your game,” he said. “Today everyone has their mobile, I play my own games on my mobile.”
According to the latest figures, mobile gaming leads the way in Saudi with 19.3 million players, consoles 13.9 million, PC 13.4 million, and with laptops there was a 57 percent growth in the segment compared to 49 percent in the UAE.
“For us, the smart thing to do was to start investing in Esports. Either you go ahead and you start from scratch and you grow organically at a time when things are moving very fast, or as a company you look at what’s out there that has big potential, already engages a large audience, to acquire and help scale and grow,” said Al Khatib.
“It is the right time now because the whole country is moving towards modernisation and specifically in tech and gaming. We have identified that this is a great opportunity for us,” he added.
The gaming industry has long been favoured by Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and earlier this year the Riyadh-based Public Investment Fund revealed that it had acquired more than $3 billion worth of stock in three US video-game makers during the fourth quarter of last year.
They include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive Software.
In November, a subsidiary of the crown prince’s charitable organisation – the Mohamed bin Salman Foundation – said it purchased a one-third stake in SNK Corp, the Japanese developer of King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown.
The hosting of world renowned tournaments like PUBG Mobile Global Championship in Dubai and PUBG Mobile Star Challenge World Cup in Riyadh, as well as ‘Gamers without Borders’, a Saudi-led global initiative to fight Covid-19, have put the region on the global gaming map.
Al Khatib said: “When we say gaming, it’s not just consumers and players, we’re looking into game development, we’re looking into hosting tournaments, we’re looking into creating games that come from our culture. I think the investment that happened is to support this and to emphasise we will get the know-how, as we want to be a strong player in this area.”
Courtesy of Arabian Business