Saudi Arabia has been rapidly transforming its economy and society under the ambitious vision of Vision 2030, which aims to diversify its economy away from oil and create a vibrant, modern, and globally competitive society. One of the emerging sectors that Saudi Arabia is keen to develop is the gaming industry, which has been gaining increasing popularity worldwide.
Saudi Arabia is one of the MENA region countries and compared to the rest of the world, the MENA gaming market is still relatively small. The global gaming market is a $138 billion industry and projected to reach $300 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 9.3%. The Asia-Pacific region is currently the largest gaming market in the world, accounting for 47% of global gaming revenue, followed by North America and Europe.
One of the challenges facing the MENA gaming market is the lack of local content and game development studios. While there are several gaming companies operating in the region, most of the games available are developed by international companies. This is where Saudi Arabia’s vision and companies like Savvy Games Group and Sandsoft Games come into play. MENA market is on the rise but compared to the investments made, the region’s potential can still be considered limited. This is why Saudi Arabia wants a bigger piece of the pie and become a global gaming hub.
Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in developing its digital infrastructure, including high-speed internet connectivity, data centers, and cloud computing. This infrastructure is essential for the gaming industry as it enables seamless online gaming experiences, which are increasingly popular worldwide. Saudi Arabia’s investment in data centers and cloud computing will enable the creation of a robust gaming ecosystem that can support large-scale game development, hosting, and distribution.
Rana Rahman, Raptor PR‘s Founder and CEO spoke to Mobidictum about MENA region and Saudi Arabia’s leading role, saying “I expect to see further growth beyond the established audience with improved access to hardware and infrastructure.”
Saudi Arabia has been actively seeking to attract foreign investment and talent to its gaming industry. The Saudi government has introduced various initiatives, such as the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Quality of Life Program, to make it easier for foreign investors and companies to enter the Saudi market. This policy of openness and international cooperation is essential for Saudi Arabia to become a global gaming hub, as it will enable the transfer of knowledge, skills, and technology between Saudi Arabia and other leading gaming nations.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said “We are harnessing the untapped potential across the esports and games sector to diversify our economy, drive innovation in the sector and further scale the entertainment and esports competition offerings across the Kingdom.”
The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, with assets worth over $400 billion. The fund has been actively investing in the gaming industry in recent years, with a particular focus on mobile gaming. Saudi Arabia has bought over 3 billion shares from many companies, such as SNK, Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two. PIF aims to profit from these investments with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which was approved by the country last year.
Savvy Games Group recently acquired Scopely for $4.9 billion. Public Investment Fund increased its stake in Nintendo from 6.07% to 7.08%. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund’s interest in Nintendo has been growing rapidly since last year.
Saudi Arabia has a unique opportunity to become a global gaming hub by 2030, thanks to its young and enthusiastic gaming population, its digital infrastructure, its openness to foreign investment and talent, its hosting of international gaming events, and its investment in talent development. By leveraging these advantages, Saudi Arabia can create a vibrant and competitive gaming industry that can contribute to its economic diversification and international standing.