Home / News / Mobile Mavens: Exploring the opportunities of the MENA region | Pocket Gamer.biz

Mobile Mavens: Exploring the opportunities of the MENA region | Pocket Gamer.biz

42
Mobile Mavens: Exploring the opportunities of the MENA region | Pocket Gamer.biz

This month on PocketGamer.biz, we have been highlighting the MENA region. We have heard about the market’s growing potential, interviewed studios within the region, and we are kicking off our very own Dubai GameExpo Summit powered by PG Connects tomorrow!

To discuss the region’s opportunities further, we spoke with our Mobile Mavens who share their views on the future for MENA and what advice they could offer to others considering doing business in this unique market.

Per my visit to GameExpo Dubai last year, the gaming market in the MENA region presents interesting growth opportunities. Data.ai predicts that it will expand at an annual rate of 10% until 2030. But keep in mind that the market is massively driven by revenue from Saudi Arabia, which currently stands at nearly 60%, according to Sandsoft data.

The region has a significant base of core and competitive gamers who engage with major titles on PC and consoles and are known to spend money on games like Clash of Clans. Sandbox games such as Roblox and Minecraft are also very popular in the region.

To capitalise on this, localising global games could be more effective than creating region-specific titles, as it combines the appeal of internationally popular games with adaptations that resonate locally. Additionally, there’s considerable potential in social and multiplayer games because they offer a convenient, culturally acceptable way to socialise.

To maximise performance in the region, focus on localisation that respects local culture and norms, not just translating copy

Peter Fodor

To maximise performance in the region, focus on localisation that respects local culture and norms, not just translating copy. From our experience in the creative space, ads need to reflect local environments, ethnic groups, and other elements native to the region. From the category standpoint, tycoon crafting, idle games, card games, poker, and social casinos are big. The same goes for esports and monetising customisations in general.

Partnering with local influencers like Saudi Gamer YouTubers can also help reach more players effectively. Additionally, considering the significant number of female gamers in the area, creating content that appeals to this group can expand your audience.

There is a push to support the gaming ecosystems in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, including government support, tax-free zones, incentives, and training programs. However, it might be a couple more years before we see the results of these efforts in terms of very successful games originating from the region. Currently, there are about ten larger studios, which is fewer than I anticipated when I started exploring the MENA region.

There is not much competition – on the User Acquisition side – for targeting Middle Eastern gamers, and the purchasing power varies greatly between different countries and income groups – imagine sheikhs on one side of the spectrum and construction builders on the other. From a business perspective, the region has some cultural specifics that are best navigated with a local partner or team.

Mobile Mavens: Exploring the opportunities of the MENA region | Pocket Gamer.biz

We are already active in MENA and have been for four years. We see this region going up and up, and we plan to build our presence, expertise, and network there for the long term. The opportunities are everywhere!

There is the opportunity to better serve the growing gamer population with more games, to build local studios and game ecosystem businesses, especially with government support, and to localise into Arabic and culture for each market, which would engage the gamers more fully.

Maximising performance always includes getting to know the users and the audience. You need to measure the opportunity and strategically plan to succeed. Of course, we believe this includes high integrity objective market research data and insights, so that should be in your plan.

Mobile Mavens: Exploring the opportunities of the MENA region | Pocket Gamer.biz

MENA audiences are young, remarkably young. In fact, 60% of the region’s population are under the age of 30. This provides an opportunity to deliver high-quality experiences designed to appeal to this young audience interested in gaming. Developers must respect local customs pertaining to the MENA region and the nuanced cultures of each nation, so localisation remains important. Yet install data from the Data.AI State of Mobile 2024 report also shows clear parallels between gamer interest in the Middle East and across the world. Hypercasual, simulation, and action make up the top three most popular genres for both Saudi Arabian audiences and worldwide. For developers targeting this region, the message is clear: audiences – no matter the region – are ultimately looking for engaging and relatable gaming experiences.

Mobile Mavens: Exploring the opportunities of the MENA region | Pocket Gamer.biz

At YouthWave Games, we are an African mobile game developer dedicated to creating innovative and culturally authentic gaming experiences in Africa and the rest of the world. We believe Africa is the gaming industry’s next billion-dollar market.

We noticed many similarities in terms of payment, distribution, communities, user acquisition, and user behaviours in some markets, such as Japan or South Korea in Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, and the Ivory Coast.

My main tip for game developers looking to penetrate the region is to consider the specifics of the African mosaic

Claire Rozain

We do believe paid algorithms are not smart enough yet to properly scale games in the region because of the lack of signals related to accessibility, device type, language, and actual distribution, among other factors. This gives opportunities to small and local developers like us to beat big publishers with our community and understanding of the region and gain a massive competitive advantage going beyond any algorithm.

My main tip for game developers looking to penetrate the region is to consider the specifics of the African mosaic, as this is a diverse landscape, and start with local partnerships that focus on organic growth.

This is a massive opportunity for mobile gaming developers because by having a more organic approach, they can, instead of relying on algorithms, have a tangible impact via a local approach to games and minimise some user acquisition paid costs. Partnerships with distribution like Gara Store for instance are key drivers of growth for gaming and are now the key drivers of profit in the MENA region especially in North Africa to gain trust and penetrate an incredible audience!

Comments

Skaldyr & bobler hos restaurant loftet.