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.
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
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.
|Study Period||Historical Data: 2017-20|
|Base Year: 2021|
|Forecast Period: 2022-27|
|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:
By Game Type:
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:
By Revenue Model:
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:
Recent Developments by Leading Companies:
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.
In December 2021, Microsoft launched a multiplayer version of Halo Infinite.
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:
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:
Market Outlook, Segmentation, and Statistics
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.