According to the report, by 2025, there will be more than 318m e-sports enthusiasts worldwide, up from 215.2m in 2020.
Gaming revenue is expected to reach $6bn by 2027 in the Middle East and North Africa, almost double the figure from 2021, according to DMCC’s latest Future of Trade 2023 report titled Gaming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Geared for growth.
The report stated that a young and digital-savvy population, high levels of digital connectivity, and government support are driving the region’s emergence as a consumer and creator hub.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead the region, supported by high-income levels, strong digital engagement, and public investment initiatives. Globally, Asia Pacific constitutes the largest market share and China, the US, and Japan are the largest individual markets.
The global gaming market is expected to reach about $340bn by 2027, from $198.4bn in 2021, DMCC said.
By 2025, there will be more than 318 million e-sports enthusiasts worldwide, up from 215.2 million in 2020. Meanwhile, around 322.7 million people are projected to be occasional viewers of e-sports by 2025, according to the report.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, of DMCC, said: “Gaming has come to the fore of entertainment globally, driving rapid growth, especially in the MENA region, which now constitutes 15% of the global player base. The rise of gamification in areas such as education, healthcare, and other sectors has demonstrated gaming’s role in facilitating economic activity more broadly. Ensuring the accelerated growth of the gaming sector will have a measurable impact on the future of markets around the world, as well as the future of trade. As DMCC seeks to solidify Dubai’s reputation as a global trade and economic hub, efficiently activating opportunities within the gaming sector will prove essential.”
Among the most closely watched segments is esports, which is expected to post revenue growth of 23.3% between 2019 and 2024 in MENA. Fuelling this is the region’s young demographic, engagement from international broadcasters and sponsors, and government support. Tapping into this economic potential, DMCC partnered with YaLLa Esports, the Dubai-based professional esports organisation, to launch the DMCC Gaming Centre in December 2022. The Centre supports the growth of the industry in Dubai by providing gaming businesses with access to global capital, leading industry talent, and an ecosystem that allows them to operate efficiently and with confidence.
Due to the UAE’s strong business environment and infrastructure, as well as its status as a gateway to the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions, various international gaming developers have set up their regional headquarters in the country. Ubisoft is based in Abu Dhabi, while the gaming giant Tencent set up its MENA HQ in Dubai along with Riot Games. In Saudi Arabia, the kingdom has included gaming as a core element of its Neom project and has already made investments worth over $1.7bn in the gaming industry.