UAE got game: Emirates 35th among top 100 gaming markets

More than 80% of smartphone users in the UAE identify as 'mobile gamers'.

  
A resident watches a movie using internet on a mobile phone in Paranaque, Metro Manila in Philippines, August 7, 2018. Image used for illustrative purposes.

A resident watches a movie using internet on a mobile phone in Paranaque, Metro Manila in Philippines, August 7, 2018. Image used for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Erik De Castro

UAE - There is not much that can compare to the feeling of being the last player standing having bested all your opponents in a multiplayer deathmatch, or the satisfaction of outsmarting your challenger to take home the win, gamers in the UAE will tell you.

The victorious feeling and enjoyment is further amplified if you are playing on a device that boasts stunning graphics, superior sound quality, and immersive gameplay. Mobile gaming, in particular, has really taken off across the UAE, and with gamers spending an average of 20-40 minutes each day playing their favourite games on their devices, experts say that the growing popularity of the segment has lead to smartphone manufacturers upping their offerings to cater to gamers and their needs.

According to research by Newzoo, the global gaming industry is set to reach $174 billion with mobile games accounting for 52 per cent of revenues by 2021. Newzoo also estimated that the global games market in 2018 reached $134.9 billion, with mobile gaming scooping 47 per cent of the global games market with revenues reaching $63.2 billion. With $38.3 billion in revenues, console gaming took a 28 per cent share of the global gaming market; followed closely by PC gaming with 25 per cent of the global games market and $33.4 billion in revenues.

The UAE is currently ranked 35th worldwide amongst the world's top 100 gaming markets based on their revenue estimates as of October 2018, with a total revenue of $324 million. In line with global trends, mobile gaming enjoys the largest gaming market share in the UAE. More than 80 per cent of smartphone users in the UAE identify as 'mobile gamers' including 86 per cent of users between 16 and 36-years. Data from the 2018 Game Developers Conference showed that 38 per cent of game developers were developing games for smartphones and tablets to cater to the growing interest in the segment worldwide.

David Wang, UAE country manager at Huawei CBG, said: "Over the past few years, the mobile gaming sector has witnessed substantial growth. At Huawei, we follow a consumer-centric approach to ensure the needs of users are incorporated in every product we create. With more games available today than ever before, it is evident the mobile gaming industry will not be slowing down anytime soon... we are happy to provide them with a technology that offers an immersive gaming experience and we will continue introducing innovative features to enhance the evolving mobile gaming segment."

Tarek Sabbagh, head of the IT and mobile division at Samsung Gulf Electronics, said that a number of aspects have influenced the number of consumers opting to game on smartphones. As the technical specifications of mobile devices become more advanced, the capabilities of these devices is making them more and more suitable for gaming applications. Increasingly faster CPUs and GPUs, as well as revolutionary screen developments and larger amounts of RAM and internal storage are taking the digital performance of smartphones into a new era for gamers.

"Additionally, the portability of mobile devices is proving to be a popular benefit for gamers as this allows them the freedom to play anywhere, anytime as opposed to the physical limitations of traditional gaming consoles. Lastly, because a growing number of games are app-based and easily accessible for free download, gaming via mobile is becoming a much more feasible and convenient option. All these are facets of mobiles are having a profound impact on the increase in the number of mobile gamers," he said.

Asked if there will be an increase in the number of mobile gamers in the region as game developers look to launch more titles on the platform, Sabbagh said: "The extremely high smartphone penetration rates have resulted in the region becoming one of the fastest growing in the world. Furthermore, the localisation of content for Arabic users has also increased the uptake of mobile gamers in the region. In light of this growth and adoption of smartphone-based gaming, we expect there to be exponential growth and major advancements with regards to the number of titles gaming developers enable for launch on mobiles."

Mohammed Hilili, general manager for the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and East Africa at Lenovo, spoke about the importance of innovation and how the UAE remains a key market for Lenovo. "The nation's commitment towards supporting innovation is an example from which we can all learn. Computing devices are no longer regarded as having one basic function - they enable us to learn, socialise, express and entertain. To meet the demands of the region, we have introduced a range of innovative solutions to suit everyone from the working parent and diligent student, to the inner creative and avid gamer."

 

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