The Middle East mobile game market is growing at an impressive rate, thanks to the region’s large youth population, high smartphone penetration, and increasing disposable incomes. New technological advancements, such as AR, VR, cloud gaming, and 5G, have given rise to the popularity of mobile gaming. The rise of the hyper-casual game genre has also made gaming more accessible to a broader audience.
The MENA region is renowned for its distinct cultures, languages, and demographics, making it an ideal place to target various players. Notably, its youth population has demonstrated high uptake of mobile gaming. Newzoo estimated that there would be 100 million gamers in the region in 2022, and the gaming market is expected to register a CAGR of 13.88% during the forecast period of 2022-2027.
Projected figures indicate that mobile gaming revenue will reach a staggering $4.4 billion in the Middle East.
This growth is expected to continue as countries like Saudi Arabia have the highest ARPPU in the world. Finally, with Arabic being one of the most spoken languages in the world, localizing games into Arabic is a great way to reach out to MENA players and increase their engagement with your game.
Major players in the Middle East are leveraging research and development capabilities and strategic partnerships to remain at the forefront of this evolving market and prepare for the future. Examples such as the Jordan Gaming Lab, initiated by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development in partnership with Maysalward—the region’s leading game studio—and Zain Telecom Operator’s venture into Esports, as well as the recently launched Saudi Savvy Fund, further fueling expansion. Collaboration is essential for business entities to keep up with these changing trends and maximize their potential in this rapidly growing sector.
Moreover, players from all parts of the region are connecting with each other and learning how to work as a team to achieve a common goal. This is driving the popularity of e-sports across the Middle East. In addition, more people are discovering new apps through their friends and family, which has created a strong social ecosystem that is redefining growth in the mobile gaming market.
The Middle East presents an excellent opportunity for mobile game developers to tap into this growing market and capitalize on its potential.
Entering the Middle East mobile game market can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor. Here are a few steps that companies may consider when looking to enter this market:
- Research the market: It’s important to understand the cultural and social norms of the Middle East, as well as the preferences and behaviors of mobile game players in the region. Conducting market research can help companies identify opportunities and develop strategies for success.
- Localize the game: Localizing a mobile game involves translating the game’s text and adapting it to the cultural and social norms of the target market. This can help the game feel more authentic and relatable to players in the Middle East.
- Use targeted marketing: Tailoring marketing efforts to specific regions or groups can help ensure that the game’s message is received by the desired audience. This could involve creating separate marketing campaigns for the Middle East, or using social media and other online channels to reach specific demographics.
- Partner with local companies: Partnering with local companies can help companies navigate the complexities of the Middle East market and build relationships with key stakeholders. This could involve partnering with distributors, marketing firms, or other local companies that can help get the game in front of the right audience.
- Monitor and adjust: It’s important to continuously monitor the game’s performance in the Middle East market and make adjustments as needed. This could involve introducing changes to the game itself or adjusting marketing and distribution strategies to better fit the market.