Mobile gaming connects and builds communities
Mobile gaming is booming – and it’s supposed to keep growing. PwC predicts that the global gaming industry will be worth $321 billion by 2026. With MENA mobile penetration increasing daily, the growth estimates are expected to exceed on the global arena. Furthermore, the MENA games market has rapidly emerged as a key growth region for the global video game industry. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s combined wildlife revenue was $1.76 billion in 2021, which is expected to reach $3.14 billion in 2025, according to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com. Today’s pool of gamers is experiencing its highest volume in history as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the number of gamers to peak, with non-gamers even taking it up as a social lifeline.
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Today, the average gamer has been playing for 14 years, according to data released by Statista. It appears that gaming has effectively played an agile role in promoting soft and hard skills for communities in the region, which together represent a powerful tool for community and capacity building. Furthermore, as Statista has released a stunning figure showing the region emerging on the cusp of the gaming revolution. With over 40.20 million mobile subscribers, mobile penetration in Saudi Arabia effectively stands at 116 percent. Ranked third worldwide, the Kingdom will soon emerge as a benchmark for mobile gaming trends and developments in community preferences.
Going beyond human connections, gaming helps players from all parts of the world learn how to work together to achieve a common goal. This has led to the growing popularity of eSports, especially in the MENA, bringing players of all genders, ages, nationalities and abilities together to strive for a shared victory. In addition to helping players grow their communication skills and connection, it creates new social opportunities to participate in the growing gaming culture.
Together, such emerging trends have led to the creation of a gaming community regardless of the normative concerns that usually come with playing. Furthermore, as we dive deeper into what has become known as the new age of disruption, we are also becoming more drawn to games that mimic our time, and the future-forward world that is constantly being reshaped for the benefit of people and planet. New generations of players cherish new social cues, creating bridges along the way. What was previously labeled as hindering social connections, play today has truly represented an era of emancipation.
Currently, technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are driving innovation in the industry and allowing more people to play more games. Some brands like Netflix are already dabbling in gaming, with the popular streaming service recently launching Netflix Games. In fact, all the “big four” tech companies – Apple, Amazon, Meta, Google – have made similar moves, as well as platforms like TikTok and Zoom. With the improved availability and reach of smartphones, peer-to-peer file transfer applications allow users to share games with other devices without using an active Internet connection. It allows players to transfer heavy games in no time and no data, as well as increase that very basic social habit of sharing.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a key trend in mobile gaming: much of the sharing behavior has shifted from data savings to convenience. Growth has become synonymous with trust. In other words, growth is the result of a very simple habit of people trusting their friends and family more than they trust the internet. How does this translate into games? This will ultimately determine which download takes priority. In this sense, growth is more of a game changer than ever before.
Mobile gaming has become a force to be reckoned with thanks to access to affordable smartphones growing alongside high-speed internet penetration, disruptive technology and increased mobile penetration. In fact, peer-to-peer file sharing is one of the key areas. Each indication points to the mobile gaming segment. it dominates discussions within the industry. Peer-to-peer sharing at close range has created a social ecosystem with people discovering new apps through friends and family, leading to stronger community bonds, ultimately redefining growth as we know it.
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