Saudi Arabia Online Gaming

Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Research Report: Forecast (2022-2027)

By Platform Type (Gaming Console, Smart Phone/ Tablet, Virtual Reality, PC, Streaming, Others (Television, Web Browser, Arcade, etc.)), By Game Type (Sports Games, Racing Games, Adventure & Action Gam Read more

  • ICT & Electronics
  • Feb 2022
  • 121
  • IT55040

Market Definition

Online Games are virtually-integrated video games on PCs, mobile phones, gaming consoles, etc., played over the internet. Rising internet penetration in the country and imposition of nationwide lockdown during 2020 are the key factors contributing to the increased demand for online games. Furthermore, burgeoning government support for gamers in line with Saudi Vision 2030 to help boost the online gaming industry as a key contributor to the nation’s economy is another crucial aspect driving the demand for online games.

Market Insights

The Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 7.85% during the forecast period, i.e., 2022-27. The growth of the market imputes primarily to the increasing number of affordable internet plans, easy access to online games, and large-scale development of unique & multiplayer games, such as PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds), etc. According to the GlobalWebIndex, around 91% of the internet users in Saudi Arabia in the age bracket of 16-64 play video games on various devices, such as consoles, laptops, PC, mobile, etc., with per-user time spent increased from 1 hr 33 minutes in 2020 to 1 hr 58 min (year on year basis) in 2021.

Saudi Arabia is home to 21.2 million gamers, i.e., the world's 19th largest market in the gaming industry with a revenue jump of over 4.1% as compared to 2019." The establishment of the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) in 2017 to govern the Gaming industry of Saudi Arabia has further contributed towards the market growth in the country. Since its inception, the federation has organized multiple world-class national & international gaming tournaments and events to attract investments from both local & private-sector corporations while actively working with international gaming developers for opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Key Trends in the Market

  • Introduction of Digital Games in Tertiary Education in Saudi Arabia

The Educational institutions of Saudi Arabia are increasingly adopting different forms of computer games for children to deliver learning content in the form of puzzle games, GK quiz games, etc. This development aims to offer alternative educational games to develop their learning & social skills, inspired by their culture, history, and language.

Report Coverage Details
Study Period Historical Data: 2017-20
Base Year: 2021
Forecast Period: 2022-27
CAGR 7.85%
Key Companies Profiled Sony Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Apple Inc., Google LLC (Alphabet Inc.), Electronic Arts Inc., NetEase Inc. Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd., Nintendo, Ubisoft Entertainment, Square Enix Co., Ltd., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Unit Denominations USD Million/Billion

 

Impact of Covid-19 on the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market

The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 positively impacted the revenue generation for the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market, primarily due to lockdown restrictions & stringent stay-at-home policies that derived the young population toward discovering some indoor entertainment activities like online video games. Moreover, investments in internet infrastructure by the Saudi government led to a rise in internet penetration in the country that contributed to the revenue generation of online streaming platforms due to increased demand for gaming tutorials. Telecom operators & streaming platforms reported a significant increase in gaming traffic in 2020. For instance:

  • In 2020, STC, a Saudi Arabian telecom company, reported a 300% increase in user engagement in online gaming & streaming platforms in the country.
  • Additionally, Twitch, an online streaming platform, recorded a surge in customer engagement during 2020, with top channels, including Saudi Arabia’s ixxYjYxxi, which recorded 210,257 views in 44 hours of streaming during April 2020, and RakanooLive, with more than 561,000 hours of watch time.

Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Research Report: Forecast (2022-2027)

Market Segmentation

By Game Type:

  • Sports Games
  • Racing Games
  • Adventure & Action Games
  • Strategy Games
  • Others (Role-Playing Games, Card Games, etc.)

Of them all, Sports Games are anticipated to acquire a considerable market share during the forecast period, owing to the increasing gaming subscribers and government partnerships to boost the country's Electronic Sports (E-sports) industry. According to Saudi Arabia CITC (Communications & Information Technology Commission), FIFA topped the list of most-played video games. Furthermore, the launch of various sports events by SAFEIS (Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports) in Saudi Arabia to attract gaming nerds in the country is another crucial aspect expected to boost the online gaming market in the forthcoming years. For instance:

  • In April 2021, STC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Saudi Arabia Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) as a strategic partner & digital enabler in the field of games, electronic & mental sports, etc.
  • In June 2021, NEOM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SAFEIS to host an electronic sports event in the city.

By Revenue Model:

  • Free Online Gaming
  • Paid Online Gaming

Of both, the free-to-play pricing model is more preferred by gamers due to its unlimited gaming potential & free-of-cost download availability in app stores. It helps players sample the game & decide whether to invest time & money to gain higher revenues. Poppy Horror: Chapter One, Poppy Rope Game, Brain Story: Tricky Puzzle, FNF Music Battle: Original Mod, etc., are some of the top free-to-play games that reported more than 10 million downloads in the country in 2021. Furthermore, the periodic launch of free-to-play games is another crucial aspect expected to drive users' interest in online gaming. For instance:

  • In October 2021, Electronic Arts Inc. released FIFA 22 globally with features, such as real-life themes, Career Mode, FUT Heroes, etc.
  • In January 2022, Garena International announced launching “New Age Day” in Free Fire with features like Vantage Zone, Railroad Zone, Dock Zone, etc.

Recent Developments by Leading Companies:

  • Sony Corporation

In January 2022, Sony revealed a Virtual Reality (VR) headset for its PS5 gaming console. The new PSVR2 is furnished with upgraded hardware for enhanced headset features & VR2 sense controllers for exceptional immersion capabilities.

  • Microsoft Corporation

In December 2021, Microsoft launched a multiplayer version of Halo Infinite.

Market Dynamics:

Key Drivers: Several Government Initiatives to boost 5G infrastructure in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the highest penetration of Internet users & gamers, making it the 19th largest online gaming market worldwide. With the increasing number of online gamers in the country, there exists a need to have a stable internet connection to minimize breakouts in gaming since the online gaming industry is slowly becoming one of Saudi Arabia’s prominent revenue generators. Moreover, technology, media, & telecommunications are the key pillars strengthening the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

To strengthen the internet infrastructure of Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is working toward expanding high-speed internet connectivity of more than 10 Megabytes per second (Mbps) across all rural areas by 2022 in order to stipulate online gamers to play games without any speed breakout for a better gaming experience.

Furthermore, new government agencies, such as the Saudi Data, Artificial Intelligence Authority (SAAIA), & its sub-entities, the National Center for AI, etc., are dedicated to advancing technology-enabled society and promoting the penetration of online gamers in Saudi Arabia. For instance:

  • London-based satellite firm OneWeb is forming a joint venture with a NEOM Tech & Digital Holding Company to provide high-speed internet across Saudi Arabia.

Growth Restraint: Stringent Government Regulations for Gaming Platforms

One of the most prominent challenges to the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market is dynamic regulations imposed by the government for citizens' welfare. In November 2021, the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) published a consultation on its draft Digital Content Platform regulations for digital gaming platforms in the country. Article 5.2 of the CITC draft specifies that Satellite Pay TV platforms, IPTV platforms (Amazon), Video OTT platforms (Netflix), etc., face the heaviest burden since they need to obtain a license before offering services.

Furthermore, games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Grand Theft Auto series, Manhunt series, along with 44 other games, has been completely banned in Saudi Arabia since these were not in compliance with the Saudi Arabian digital regulation and were depicting violence, terrorism role plays, & other offensive content.

Key Questions Answered in the Market Research Report:

  1. What are the overall statistics or estimates (Overview, Size- By Value, Forecast Numbers, Segmentation, Shares) of the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market?
  2. What are the region-wise industry size, growth drivers, and challenges?
  3. What are the key innovations, opportunities, current & future trends, and regulations in the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market?
  4. Who are the key competitors, their key strengths & weaknesses, and how do they perform in the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market based on the competitive benchmarking matrix?
  5. What are the key results derived from surveys conducted during the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market study?

 Market Outlook, Segmentation, and Statistics 

  • Impact of COVID-19 on Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market
  • Market Size & Analysis
    • By Revenues (USD Million)
  • Market Share & Analysis
    • By Platform Type
      • Gaming Console
      • Smart Phone/ Tablet
      • Virtual Reality
      • PC
      • Streaming
      • Others (Television, Web Browser, Arcade, etc.)
    • By Game Type
      • Sports Games
      • Racing Games
      • Adventure & Action Games
      • Strategy Games
      • Others (Role-Playing Games, Card Games, etc.)
    • By Revenue Model
      • Free Online Gaming
      • Paid Online Gaming
    • By Company
      • Competition Characteristics
      • Market Share of Leading Companies, By Revenues
      • Competitor Placement in MarkNtel Quadrant

Frequently Asked Questions

A. The Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 7.85% during 2022-27.

A. Sports Games are anticipated to emerge as an area of remunerative opportunities for the leading players in the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market during 2022-27.

A. The integration of augmented & virtual reality in online games would be a lucrative growth opportunity for the Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market in the coming years.

A. Rising internet penetration in the country and lockdown imposition due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 enabled Saudi Arabia's citizens to discover in-house entertainment activities like PlayStations, X-boxes, online games, etc. Hence, it would continue driving Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market in the coming years despite the ongoing pandemic.

  1. Introduction
    1. Product Definition
    2. Research Process
    3. Market Segmentation
    4. Assumptions
  2. Preface
  3. Executive Summary
  4. Impact of COVID-19 on Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market
  5. Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Trends & Insights
  6. Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Dynamics
    1. Drivers
    2. Challenges
  7. Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Regulations & Policies
  8. Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Supply Chain Analysis
  9. Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Hotspots & Opportunities
  10. Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Outlook, 2017-2027F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Billion)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Platform Type
        1. Gaming Console
        2. Smart Phone/ Tablet
        3. Virtual Reality
        4. PC
        5. Streaming
        6. Others (Television, Web Browser, Arcade, etc.)
      2. By Game Type
        1. Sports Games
        2. Racing Games
        3. Adventure & Action Games
        4. Strategy Games
        5. Others (Role-Playing Games, Card Games, etc.)
      3. By Revenue Model
        1. Free Online Gaming
        2. Paid Online Gaming
      4. By Company
        1. Competition Characteristics
        2. Market Share of Leading Companies, By Revenues
        3. Competitor Placement in MarkNtel Quadrant
  11. Saudi Arabia Free Online Gaming Market Outlook, 2017-2027F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Billion)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Platform Type
        1. Gaming Console
        2. Smart Phone/ Tablet
        3. Virtual Reality
        4. PC
        5. Streaming
        6. Others (Television, Web Browser, Arcade, etc.)
      2. By Game Type
        1. Sports Games
        2. Racing Games
        3. Adventure & Action Games
        4. Strategy Games
        5. Others (Role-Playing Games, Card Games, etc.)
  12. Saudi Arabia Paid Online Gaming Market Outlook, 2017-2027F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Billion)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Platform Type
        1. Gaming Console
        2. Smart Phone/ Tablet
        3. Virtual Reality
        4. PC
        5. Streaming
        6. Others (Television, Web Browser, Arcade, etc.)
      2. By Game Type
        1. Sports Games
        2. Racing Games
        3. Adventure & Action Games
        4. Strategy Games
        5. Others (Role-Playing Games, Card Games, etc.)
  13. Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Key Strategic Imperatives for Growth & Success
  14. Competition Outlook
    1. Competition Matrix
      1. Brand Specialization
      2. Target Markets
      3. Target End Users
      4. Research & Development
      5. Strategic Alliances
      6. Strategic Initiatives
    2. Company Profiles
      1. Sony Corporation
      2. Microsoft Corporation
      3. Apple Inc.
      4. Google LLC (Alphabet Inc.)
      5. Electronic Arts Inc.
      6. NetEase Inc. Ltd.
      7. Tencent Holdings Ltd.
      8. Nintendo
      9. Ubisoft Entertainment
      10. Square Enix Co., Ltd.
      11. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
  15. Disclaimer
Saudi Arabia Online Gaming Market Segment