Many key players recognize the opportunities in gaming and esports and are actively working on empowering this passionate community. We are compiling key data that can be used to further develop this booming sector.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has climbed the ranks to become the 19th-largest video game market globally. Taking into consideration that 89% of the Saudi population are active video game consumers, it comes as no surprise that stakeholders from both private and governmental units are taking a keen interest in the gaming and esport sector.
Various initiatives are constantly being established to bank on this exceptional momentum and reach the projected 250% growth by 2030. We will explore some of these exciting opportunities, from dedicated funding projects to large-scale game studios and even smart cities meant to provide professionals in the field with the right environment to breathe life into their ideas.
NEOM is a smart city currently in development, which includes a media district devoted to film and game production. NEOM has recently partnered with the Saudi Arabian Federation of Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) to position Saudi Arabia as a global hub for esports.
A number of strategies are to be implemented through this partnership to provide up-and-coming e-sport athletes with a highly sophisticated portal to showcase their capabilities internationally.
NEOM x MBC:
AAA Games, Made in Saudi
In another partnership to boost the gaming sector in the Kingdom, NEOM has joined forces with MBC to inaugurate the first AAA gaming studio in the region.
MBC’s illustrious expertise in the media field will service NEOM’s gaming professionals, granting them unique opportunities for employment in a state-of-the-art media hub where they can sharpen their creative skills in a tech-enabled environment.
Big Capital for Local and Global Players
Savvy Games Group has announced its plan to invest around 37.8 billion USD in the Saudi esports and gaming sector. Under the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Savvy Games is set on acquiring minority and majority stakes in several international video game studios of varying sizes and reach.
A part of this funding will also be utilized to accelerate the growth of Saudi and Saudi-based gaming and esports companies, which will set the stage for local players to operate at global standards with governmental support.
Saudi Esports Academy:
Fostering Community through Learning
SAFEIS is contributing to the esports landscape in Saudi through a diverse array of initiatives, but perhaps its most unique offering is the Saudi Esports Academy (SEA). This e-learning platform empowers members of the esports community in Saudi Arabia through expertly designed courses, ranging from upskilling players in select e-sport games to managing e-sport teams, competitions, and businesses.
In addition to building capabilities, SEA is a setting where the esports community can come together and connect over their shared passion. These connections are essential for innovating fresh ideas that cater to the market’s needs straight from the community.
Infrastructure, Sponsorships, and the Digital Lifestyle
Telecommunication titan Zain has taken an interest in MENA’s booming esports market, particularly Saudi Arabia. Towards the end of 2020, Zain Esports was launched, and with it came a wide range of high-impact projects aimed at empowering the esports landscape in the region.
Securing a solid infrastructure through 5G network services, Zain Esports is now a major driving force in local and regional gaming. Highly engaging tournaments, sponsorship deals with Saudi esports champions, and cloud-backed esports platform PlayHERA are just a few of the advancements Zain is bringing to the Kingdom and the region on a broader scale.
MCIT x AstroLabs:
Empowering Local Game Changers
The Saudi Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) commissioned a one-of-a-kind program to accelerate emerging gaming studios in Saudi Arabia and upskill young talents in the gaming sector in collaboration with AstroLabs.
The program included a 2-week boot camp and a 4-month intensive accelerator. Participants learned the gaming industry’s inner workings, honing their game design skills, leveraging data, building a dynamic team, and navigating the licensing process.
Game Changers succeeded in establishing and registering ten new gaming studios, doubling the number of such studios in the Kingdom.
AstroLabs x Impact46:
360-Degree Overview of Saudi Gaming
Our latest contribution to the Saudi gaming sector has brought us together with Impact46. In collaboration with PlayHERA, we are working on a comprehensive report detailing the state of the esports and gaming industry in Saudi Arabia.
The report will feature contributions by key players impacting the sector, as well as an evaluation of the sentiment of gamers and professionals within the ecosystem. Through an attentively designed survey, members of the gaming community will be able to voice their thoughts on the challenges facing the Saudi esports and gaming landscape, as well as the highly anticipated opportunities awaiting it.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the state of the industry. Fill out the survey by clicking here for the English version or here for the Arabic version.