Over 80% of UAE residents are mobile gamers, shows survey

The future of mobile gaming in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt continues to expand and grow

Dubai: Mobile gamers in the UAE play an average of 20 to 40 minutes of video games a day, showed the latest survey on mobile gaming habits.


The survey, which was conducted by AdColony EMEA in partnership with On Device Research, reaffirmed the global trends of mobile gaming as an industry with a demographically diverse audience that continues to expand and grow in the region.

“Almost 90 per cent of the smartphone owners in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are playing mobile games. You might not consider yourself a mobile gamer but this doesn’t change the fact that you are playing games on your mobile phone,” said Samantha Billingham, regional sales director at AdColony EMEA.

She pointed out the gaming industry is no longer a niche arena for a certain age group or consumer segment. “With the advent of mobile gaming and improvements to hardware used in playing these games, gaming has become a viable form of entertainment for players from all backgrounds and ages,” added Billingham.

The survey showed that 84 per cent of females and 87 per cent of males in the UAE said they play games on their mobile devices.

Michael Ward, COO at On Device Research, said research indicates the UAE was crowned the top region for smartphone penetration in 2017, with an 80.6 per cent penetration rate and a grand total of 7.5 million people with smartphones.

“Over 80 per cent of people agree that they feel happy and relaxed while playing a game which is a huge opportunity for brands when trying to capture consumer attention in high potential mobile gaming environments,” he said.

Ward referred to Ramadan as a big income maker for mobile game developers.

“During a period where work hours are cut in half, the internet is the only main source of entertainment, people naturally turn to games to pass the time,” he said.

The global gaming market is predicted to reach over $115 billion in 2018.

At over $50 billion, the mobile gaming industry accounts for nearly half of all the global gaming revenue.

In 2017, 42 per cent of all gaming revenue went towards mobile games with a predicted growth to 52 per cent in 2022. With over 800,000 mobile games in the app storez, these apps accounted for more than 80 per cent of all app revenue from Apple’s iOS App and Google Play Stores.

The research showed that mobile gaming consumers are a diverse group, but mobile gaming habits across many countries are in fact universal where all ages play daily and multiple times a day. While global trends showcase the ever-changing mobile usage habits of consumers, the survey delved into the local habits of mobile users in order to understand the consumer sentiment and behaviour and optimise ways to reach them effectively.

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