Middle East - North Africa - Turkey

An Overview of the MENA Game Market

Forbes deemed the Middle East as "a new leader in emerging markets," and its growing video game market is just one of its many industries to keep an eye on:


$4 billion total revenue.


  • The entire MENA region (defined as the Middle East and North Africa), has the highest growth rate globally - 25% year-over-year growth (versus Latin America's 13.9% growth, the Asia Pacific's 9.2% growth, North America's 4% growth and Western Europe's 4.8% growth).
  • Local experts state that the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) is "home to the world's most active gaming community."
  • Gamers in the region accounted for $4 billion of total revenue in 2017 (over $1 billion on game software alone).
  • The MENA region's experts claim that the Middle East & North Africa's potential comes from the fact that "half of the population of nearly 400 million is younger than 25 years of age."
  • Gamers in the Gulf region have large purchasing power, compared to other countries (consisting of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates).


Home to the world's HIGHEST

growth rate - 25%.



LAI Global Game Services – DFC Intelligence – Video Game Market Infographics – MENA and Turkey

Download LAI Global Game Services & DFC Intelligence's MENA and Turkey infographic for use in professional and student presentations, papers, and articles.


Which Countries are Driving MENA's Game Market Growth?

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the Middle East's top game markets.

  • Turkey accounts for over 60% of the region's game market.
  • In fact, Turkey alone is the 16th largest games market in the world.
  • Following Turkey, Saudi Arabia is the Middle East's largest gaming market. (You can read more about individual countries in our drilldown pages, with more specific facts and data.)


Turkey makes up 60% of

MENA's game market.


Why are the UAE & Saudi Arabia Driving MENA's Game Market?

Mobile game penetration rates.


The UAE ranks #1 globally for

smartphone penetration rates.


The Arab Region's Top Gaming Platforms


Mobile has overtaken the market,

previously dominated by console.


  • The mobile market is one of the region's largest gaming platforms. (See above.)
  • Online games are also growing exponentially, as the MENA region (and other emerging markets) continue to gain greater internet penetration.
    • As of 2017, the Middle East saw an internet penetration rate of nearly 60%. This number will continue to grow, as it wasn't long ago - back in 2013 - where roughly 40% of the region had internet access.
  • There is a market for eSports in the Middle East, but slower internet speeds make it difficult for local gamers to compete globally - a problem which local companies are working to solve.
  • Console games have long been an important platform in the Middle East and North Africa and, before the rise of mobile, was "the biggest revenue earner" in the MENA region back in 2014.


Online games are growing exponentially!


Why Should Game Developers Localize into Arabic?

Despite the Middle East's impressive gaming statistics and mobile penetration rates, companies outside the Middle East continue to underestimate the region's potential:
  • By sheer numbers, Arabic is one of the top 5 languages globally.
  • However, few game developers and publishers localize into Arabic.
  • This means, that unlike Western markets, the Arab game market is undersaturated, and gamers are clamoring for more game content in Arabic.
  • By focusing on the Middle East and Turkey, as well as localizing into Arabic and Turkish, South Korean company Netmarble quickly ranked 8th worldwide.


Unlike Western markets, MENA's gaming

marketplace is far from saturated.


In fact, Google even gave a talk in China in 2017 about how to localize and market mobile games for the MENA region:



Why Don't AAA Developers Localize for the Middle East?

They do!


EA & Ubisoft are targeting

Arab gamers.



  • Since 2011, EA localized FIFA games into Arabic (also featuring local teams and leagues) due to the region's massive gaming population and returns seen in the Middle East.
  • Ubisoft also set up its own studio in Abu Dhabi, to focus specifically on the Arabic speaking market.
  • Back in 2013, Assassin's Creed was released in the MENA/MEA region with Arabic subtitles.
  • A few Naughty Dog games in recent years, such as Uncharted 4: A Thief's End/Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, included Arabic voiceover and subtitle options.
  • Swedish-made The Division even got its own Arabic voiceover option, with great care given to the entire localization process. The full article on this process is worth a read!
  • By focusing solely on the Middle East & Turkish game markets, local player Peak Games quickly propeled itself to one of the top mobile gaming companies globally. (This presentation by Peak Games provides an excellent overview of why it's important to narrow your strategy on a market such as the Middle East.)
  • Plus, Dubai's IMG World indoor theme park has a partnership with Ubisoft to showcase the Assassin's Creed, Rabbids and Just Dance brands.
It is taking Western developers longer to see and act on MENA's market potential than local players, but you can expect to see even more game developers & publishers bringing games to the region in the future.


LAI's Interview with Lebanese Indie Studio, Game Cooks

Lebnan Nader discusses the video game market in the Middle East & creating culturally-based games. Check out the full interview on our blog!



We're Looking for Local Experts!

Are you an EXPERT on the MENA region? We're always looking for people to interview for our Global Game Market pagesblog and LocaLAIse This! podcast. Reach out to us - info@laiggs.com!


Looking for more tailored information?

Check out LAI's FREE Game Market Analyzer app for iPhone and iPad - the only accurate localization ROI predictor on the market!

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LAI's Game Market Analyzer - The only free game localization ROI predictor on the AppStore.

LAI strives to keep game developers and publishers updated on key markets for localization.  If you find any errors or have additional information to add, please let us know at info@laiggs.com

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Latest page update: 1Q2018.

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