Gaming revenues are expected to almost double by 2027 from 2021 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, reaching $6 billion, according to DMCC's latest Future of Trade 2023 report.

The report titled 'Gaming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Geared for growth' noted 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.

Dubai-based DMCC is a top freezone and a leading trade and enterprise hub for commodities.

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 report said.

"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," Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and CEO, DMCC said. 

DMCC partnered with YaLLa Esports, the Dubai-based professional esports organisation, to launch the DMCC Gaming Centre in December 2022.

In February, Saudi Arabia-based gaming and e-sports company Savvy Games Group, which is fully owned Saudi wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF), is investing $265 million in Chinese tournament operator VSPO.

Last week, Amsterdam-based mobile, PC and console games developer, MY.GAMES, has partnered with UAE's AD Gaming and will set up its regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi is developing an active gaming and e-sports industry. Last month, AD Gaming partnered with Games for Change to host the first-ever ‘Games For Change Summit’ in the Middle East.

The DMCC report outlined a set of key recommendations for governments and businesses, namely:

• Diversify esports revenue streams from sponsorship to new direct-to-fan monetisation models – including digital merchandising, loyalty programmes and training platforms for amateur gamers – to boost revenues.

• Develop appropriate regulatory safeguards to ensure privacy, security and safety online in the digital gaming ecosystem and provide a business-friendly environment

(Reporting by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz)