Saifi Ismail – chairman of the group – Yalla Group Limited.
As smart devices have moved rapidly around the world, they have paved the way for innovative electronic games (apps for smartphones and tablets) and previously unheard of entertainment platforms that appeal to people from all walks of life and backgrounds.
As a result, the world is full of promising investment opportunities that digital entertainment startups can seize. In a nutshell, this is what the digital entertainment world is all about.
According to a recent report by Newzoo, a trusted source for games and export analysis and market research, the games market is in a state of constant growth. Consumer spending on electronic games for mobile devices, computers and consoles is set to hit a record $203.1 billion this year, up 5.4% from 2021. Mobile games alone are predicted to contribute to more than the half of game revenue.
The Middle East and Africa appear to be one of the most promising regions for investment, with consumers expected to spend $7.2 billion in gaming this year – a year-over-year increase of 12.9%. And this growth is likely to continue. More than half of the population in the Middle East and North Africa is under 25 years of age, and most people have access to the internet there. As of 2017, there were 587 million online gamers in the region, and that number has undoubtedly grown significantly since then. This large population of current and potential gamers means great prospects for the industry – and great development opportunities for digital content creators to take advantage of.
The gaming markets of the Middle East and North Africa are bracing for a great future – a future supported by major investments and creative startup projects. As group president of a social networking and entertainment platform headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, I have first-hand experience of working in these markets. Here’s my advice for other companies considering investing in the region.
• Take culture into account. Some Middle Eastern societies may reject certain digital entertainment content. Therefore, ensure that you develop digital entertainment applications, content and team games that take into account the culture, values and aspirations of the region.
• Prepare for a paradigm shift. It’s clear that the gaming industry will only get bigger and better in the coming years, especially as the world prepares to see more advanced experiences made available through virtual reality. i think the The Arab market for digital entertainment and social networks in particular will witness a paradigm shift in the coming period. Young people in the region have undergone cultural changes, which has generated a lot of creative energy. The unmet demand for local Arabic content has fueled the exponential growth of the regional digital entertainment and social networking market. The use of mobile technology also offers new opportunities for digital platforms. In addition, changes in paid and digital media have created new motivations for investing. These developments give industry players an opportunity to re-evaluate their business strategies and consider investing in quality local content. They also give international players a reason to rethink their regional presence. You can make the most of these opportunities by adding value to your customers and launching new applications and services that help change the reality of Arab social media and take advantage of technological developments.
• Collaborate with governments. This is one of the most important steps when it comes to the development of the digital game industry. Governments can play an important role in creating a suitable investment environment that supports digital development and enables the digital entertainment sector to become one of the key players in the market. We see that many countries in the Middle East are already strategizing and changing current plans to take advantage of the lucrative investment opportunities in this promising market.
These tactics, when applied together, can help companies push the digital entertainment sectors in the Middle East and North Africa into a future full of great opportunities that will accelerate their growth.