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How Gaming in the Middle East is Booming

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Gaming in Middle East

Gaming is fast becoming one of the most popular pastimes in the Arabic world and has seen a major increase in the past few years. A whole host of games are becoming increasingly popular, from first-person shooters to classics such as FIFA.

There is a multitude of factors as to why gaming is so popular in the Middle East. The most obvious, that has seen exponential growth in the past few years is because of the pandemic. As people were in lockdown, and usual social activities prohibited, many turned to games. Typically, you expect gaming to appeal to only younger players, but COVID meant that older individuals started playing.

Family-friendly consoles such as the Nintendo Switch saw a major increase in sales in this period. As the platform is simpler compared to that of PlayStation and Xbox. The universal aspect of games such as Mario Kart or Mario Party made Nintendo perfect for a family bonding night.

Nonetheless, the major PC games have seen a major spike in participation in recent years in the Arab world. Popular titles such as CS:GO, League of Legends, Fortnite, and DOTA 2 have also been gaining traction. Gaming is therefore quickly overtaking traditional pastimes such as playing real sports or games. One major trend (because of gaming) is that of table games. Players in the Middle East, in particular, Kuwait are starting to enjoy blackjack and roulette from the comfort of their own homes. As many are computer savvy, with the use of a VPN, it is now possible to play. To assist Kuwaiti players, comparison sites check for all the best welcome bonuses and have honest, fair reviews on each operator. In addition, the platform advises on the legality of playing and gives tips on how to get started.

One major factor that has seen gaming become very popular in the Middle East is demographics, especially age. Take Saudi Arabia, half its population is under 25 and the same data exists in other Arab nations. Young people are naturally attracted to games, whereas for older people it requires learning a new skill set, as gaming was not so advanced when they were young. With such a youthful population, the trend is only going up with other factors being crucial to the gaming industry’s rise. The heat – especially in the summer months in the Arab world is unbearable, therefore many prefer to do indoor activities. In addition to the weather, as the area is economically rich, affording the consoles, games, and accessories is easy.

Mobile gaming is becoming increasingly popular around the world and is gaining traction in the Middle East. For example, in Kuwait, the mobile gaming market is growing 8% per year resulting in a $65m market by 2026. The economic news coming out of the region has even changed some nations' strategy towards video games, in particular esports. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under its 2030 plan wants to make esports 1-2% of its GDP, by offering investment to developers as well as hosting events.

As gaming technology gets better by the day, the Middle Eastern region is subsumed with video games. Nowadays, gaming influencers stream their content on Twitch and play in high-earning tournaments. These new stars carry a lot of influence over people, so they must be careful.

The Middle East nonetheless is still very conservative, with many things prohibited including particular games. Different titles are banned in Saudi Arabia for a whole host of reasons, with GTA and Red Dead Redemption prohibited because of violence and nudity. Interestingly, games are also censored due to political reasons. Take God of War and Assassins Creed, which were both temporarily banned because of having a negative perception of Arabs.

Overall, the gaming and esports industry in the Middle East has a very bright future if it stays on track. With such a young population in the region, there will always be new players which will in turn increase adoption. When it comes to esports, many Gulf States have invested in hosting some of the most magical tournaments on the planet. And with the pandemic coming to a close, esports events will have greater audiences and bigger prize money moving forward.