Saudi CITC launches ‘Game Mode’ initiative to support video game market

The "Game Mode" initiative includes the launch of a quarterly award for the internet service provider with the best response time for video gaming, a key indicator of the network’s performance

  
Woman playing video game. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Woman playing video game. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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RIYADH The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) launched the "Game Mode" initiative, with the aim of enhancing Saudi Arabia’s booming gaming sector.

This comes within the framework of CITC’s work to encourage healthy competition among telecom operators to provide the best experience for gamers, raise the level of transparency in the market, and enable investors and the public with key data and indicators on the sector’s performance.

The "Game Mode" initiative includes the launch of a quarterly award for the internet service provider with the best response time for video gaming, a key indicator of the network’s performance.

In addition, the commission will start the publication of quarterly reports comparing response times among service providers across some of the most popular video games in the Kingdom.

Data from CITC’s first Game Mode quarterly report reveals that Mobily topped the list of average response time in the popular game "Fortnite" in the fourth quarter of 2020, based on an average response time of 21 seconds. This compared favorably with Integrated Telecom at 28 seconds, Zain at 29 seconds, and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) at 35 seconds, for a total national average of 33 seconds.

Soccer video game "FIFA" was also tested by Game Mode, with Zain ending in first place among operators with an average response time of 29 seconds.

Mobily also outperformed other service providers in the average response time for the "Apex Legends" shooter battle royale game, after recording an average response time of 24 seconds, followed by Integrated Telecom, Zain, and STC.

As for the online battle arena game "League of Legends", the performance was relatively low across the spectrum of operators, with Mobily and Zain topping the list with an average response time of 86 seconds, followed by STC at 95 seconds, and Integrated Telecom at 97 seconds.

For fixed internet average latency in Saudi Arabia, Integrated Telecom was first place with a latency of 9ms. Mobily and Zain were second and third with latencies of 13ms and 18ms respectively. STC’s fixed internet average latency was 19ms and Go was 34ms.

Zain was first place for mobile internet average latency with 33ms, closely followed by Mobily and STC with 34ms and 36ms respectively. Zain also led the field with mobile 5G average latency with 22ms with STC in second place with 24ms and Mobily in third with 25ms.

The report also looked at the service providers' performance in each of Saudi Arabia’s 13 regions. Zain was the top performer in Riyadh, Mobily first place in Makkah, and the two providers were tied first place in the Eastern region.

The "Game Mode" reports provide other useful insights on the Saudi gaming market, including a list of the most popular video game platforms, the most talked-about games in the gamers’ community, along with guidelines for gamers to improve the overall quality of the internet connection and speed.

Saudi Arabia’s current gaming market size is SR2.6 billion and is expected to reach SR9.5 billion by 2030. The Saudi gaming market’s annual growth rate is 22 percent, which is among the highest in the world. 

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