Gaming business in Saudi Arabia – a promising sector

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Saudi arabia Saudi arabia-Gaming industry is a rather new but definitely very promising sector. Global strategy and consulting firm Accenture had predicted last April that the global gaming industry is set to exceed $300 billion. This would be much more than the combined music and movie market. During 2019-2021 alone about 500 million new gamers have joined the industry – a very promising future, indeed.

Pandemic has given a different horizon to gaming industry. Urge for social interaction has driven people towards mobile gaming during pandemic, leading to the sector enfolding startups and multinational corporations. Furthermore, the demand and technology boost has led to inclusion of blockchain and non-fungible tokens or NFTs in the industry. This has provided gamers an advantage to use these tools and explore the virtual arena.

Games tapping cultural angle

Jordan based mobile game publisher Tamatem is publishing games targeting Arab users – the games are built along wonderfully engrossing Arab culture narratives.

Explaining the market, Hussam Hammo, founder and CEO of Tamatem says, “Arabic is the fourth most spoken language globally, yet only one percent of the overall content is in Arabic. That’s a huge gap to fill, especially in the Middle East and North Africa gaming industry.”

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Games give a local taste of Arab culture

Earliest games by Tamatem include Awad the Delivery King. This mobile game features a food delivery man racing around streets of Amman. The game was ranked No. 1 application in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, according to US based Medium. The latest top games by Tamatem include VIP Baloot and Clash of Empires.

Raising funds in market

Tamatem is rapidly and widely gaining popularity. Last December, the company raised $11 million in Series B funding that was led by Krafton, PUBG developer.

The palpable Saudi gaming market

The games market of kingdom presently has a value of $1 billion currently and is expected to grow to $2.5 billion by year 2030, according to Saudi Social Development Bank. The prediction is much more optimistic according to Boston Consulting Group – the revenue from gaming sector in Saudi is expected to reach $6.7 billion by 2030.

The growth in kingdom has been quite eventful this year. In January, Amazon Saudi Arabia and the UAE announced a collaboration with MENATech, a GGTech Entertainment Group company, to launch Amazon University Esports, which is the first educational esports league in every country. Riyadh-based Savvy Gaming Group, backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), purchased ESL, formerly known as Electronic Sports League, for $1 billion during same time.

Gaming sector joining the NFT bandwagon

Many Saudi games publishers are jumping in and onboard the NFT bandwagon. That means with NFT the consumer will own a rare digital asset – own a certified token on digital ledger. This is a big fandom in line to be capitalised by Saudi game developers.

Tamatem’s Hammo is soon announcing its NFT project, as well as others, including Riyadh-based UMX Studio. “In the future, players can make revenues based on reselling those items using the blockchain,” said Ali Al-Harbi, founder and CEO of UMX Studio.

Opportunity to grow is endless for game developers in Saudi Arabia. This is all possible because of the state support and resources to their disposal. What is your take on the success of gaming industry in kingdom and vast possibilities? Do share your opinion in the comment section below.

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