Saudi Arabia's gaming industry is expected to more than triple by 2030, with e-sports leading the way. eSports are associated with different video game genres, with the most popular being first-person shooters, real-time strategy, fighting, multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs), and others. Riyadh and several companies have increased their investments in order to accelerate the sector's development and boost economic benefits, including job creation. Gaming and e-sports have grown significantly in Saudi Arabia in recent years, fueled by a rapidly growing fan base and significant government and industry investment to build and develop world-class facilities, infrastructure, and events. According to the YouGov and Populous study, approximately 29% of Saudi Arabia's population, which is estimated to be around 36 million people, is interested in e-sports. The participation of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, in the gaming industry demonstrates the industry's growing importance for the kingdom. The PIF established the Savvy Gaming Group in late January to develop its gaming industry. Mohammed bin Salman's group has acquired ESL Gaming, a German esports organiser and production company, as well as FACEIT, a British esports platform. As gaming and esports increase in popularity in the country, esports tournaments and gaming competitions are also increasing. The Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports held its first esports and gaming tournaments in 2020 and plans to hold more in the future. Private platforms, such as Saudi-based Kafu Games, host other tournaments. According to the research report "Saudi Arabia eSports Market Overview, 2028," published by Bonafide Research, the market is expected to add USD 34.72 million by 2028. Streaming is expected to dominate the segment share during the forecast period. The growing emphasis on fan engagement is likely to fuel demand for live sports events. Furthermore, the rise in smart phone users is expected to fuel demand for live sports tournaments. Media rights are making a significant contribution to the country's esports industry. Fans can now track live esports activity across the country thanks to easy access to communication technology. Media companies pay exorbitant fees to win the exclusive rights to broadcast live streaming of major sporting events. In recent years, the sale of broadcasting and media rights has been the most important source of revenue for most esports organizers. The revenue generated by the sale of media rights is used to fund major sporting events, renovate stadiums, and contribute to the grassroots development of esports. During the forecast period, sponsorship is expected to grow rapidly, followed by advertising. As the number of viewers grows, the sponsoring team invests in the platform to strengthen its brand image. Similarly, various gaming platforms include in-app advertisements to boost revenue generation. According to a YouGov survey, gamers in Saudi Arabia are becoming more interested in attending live esports events and want more opportunities to do so. Populous commissioned the survey. It was discovered that 53% of gamers who had attended a live esports event preferred the experience to tuning in from home, with only 5% saying they disliked the experience of leaving their house to attend live events. Populous collaborated with YouGov, a leading international research, data, and analytics firm, to survey over 1,000 Saudi male and female residents aged 18 and older who spend at least seven hours per week gaming. The analysis was enhanced further by utilising syndicated data tools like YouGov Profiles and Global Fan Profiles to provide insights on key points of differentiation between gaming and esports fans in Saudi Arabia and other major international markets. Many Saudi players have also travelled internationally to compete in international tournaments. Abdulaziz Alshehri was the first Saudi to win the FIFA Interactive World Cup in 2015. Mossad Aldossary followed in 2018 and was crowned FIFA eWorld Champion, as well as winning first place in the 2019 FIFA Champion Cup. In 2020, Najd Fahd won the female tournament of the FISU eSports Challenge, a FIFA 20 competition, becoming the first Saudi woman to win an e-football title. The demand for e-tournaments is growing beyond the growing number of gamers as physical and virtual audiences expand and watching e-sports and video games becomes more popular as a form of entertainment. Saudi Arabia, Riyadh: The Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) has announced the launch of Voices of Saudi Esports (VSE), one of the federation's recent initiatives aimed at enabling Saudi content creators to regularly produce high-quality gaming and esports content to enrich the esports landscape. 29th of December, 2021: The Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) has launched the second edition of the Saudi Esports Federation Awards (SEF Awards), an annual event designed to recognise and encourage the most talented minds in the gaming and esports industries. The SEF Awards are an awards ceremony that is judged by a panel of experts and voted on by the general public. There are 14 categories that promote the various creative minds driving the growth of the sector in Saudi Arabia, ranging from player of the year to the most inspiring stories in gaming and eSports. On December 28th, 2021, the SEF Awards took place in Riyadh Media City, home of the Saudi eLeagues. A total of 16 winners were announced across various categories among individuals and organisations, with Mossad Aldossary named Esports Male Player of the Year and Najd Fahad named Esports Female Player of the Year. Bander Madkhali, also known as BanderitaX on the internet, was named Esports content creator of the year, and Ahmad Alqahtani, also known as shongxBong on the internet, was named Esports streamer of the year. ESports is a fast-growing market within the world of gaming, mainly driven by increasing digitalization, the growing use of smart phones, and rising awareness of gaming. Faster and better technology is opening up new opportunities, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been fueling the demand for eSports. As more teams, tournaments, and companies form, the market is expected to expand steadily, creating a large platform for sponsorship and advertisement. Due to the rising number of live-stream viewers and greater profitability, both the prize money from tournaments and the amount of money invested in different teams are projected to increase. Health and Addiction Concerns for eSports Impede the Market's Growth Gamers may experience metabolic disorders resulting from light-emitting diode computer monitors and psychological problems related to gambling addiction and social behaviour disorders. The health effects of electronic sports players have been studied, and it was discovered that they are more likely to suffer musculoskeletal injuries in the back, neck, and upper extremities. In addition, spending excessive time in front of a computer monitor can cause metabolic disorders. Most of these issues arise from sedentary lifestyles and poor posture, which are common among these players. Furthermore, the introduction of electronic sports college scholarships is a source of concern, as young people can now justify their excessive use of games as being the next electronic sports stars, even if their chances of becoming one are extremely slim. Considered in this report • Geography: Saudi Arabia • Historic year: 2017 • Base year: 2022 • Estimated year: 2023 • Forecast year: 2028 Aspects covered in this report • Saudi Arabia esports market with its value and forecast along with its segments • Various drivers and challenges • On-going trends and developments • Top profiled companies • Strategic recommendation By Revenue Streams: • Sponsorship • Media Rights • Merchandise & Tickets • Publisher Fees • Digital • Streaming By Device Type: • Mobile (Smartphone, Tablet) • PC (Laptop, Desktop) • Gaming Device (Console, Handheld Devices) • Other (VR, Smart TV, etc.) The approach of the report: This report consists of a combined approach of primary as well as secondary research. Initially, secondary research was used to get an understanding of the market and list out the companies that are present in the market. The secondary research consists of third-party sources such as press releases, and annual reports of companies, analyzing the government-generated reports and databases. After gathering the data from secondary sources primary research was conducted by making telephonic interviews with the leading players about how the market is functioning and then conducting trade calls with dealers and distributors of the market. Post this we have started doing primary calls to consumers by equally segmenting consumers into regional aspects, tier aspects, age groups, and gender. Once we have primary data with us we started verifying the details obtained from secondary sources. Intended audience This report can be useful to industry consultants, manufacturers, suppliers, associations & organizations related to the esport industry, government bodies, and other stakeholders to align their market-centric strategies. In addition to marketing & presentations, it will also increase competitive knowledge about the industry.
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