This blog will discuss the market of video game publishers in MENA. in the beginning, there will be a discussion about the MENA gaming market. We will highlight the difference between game publishers VS game developers. We will list a few relatively renowned video game publishers in MENA.  At the end of the blog, we will highlight the importance and the advantages of CCCI’s localizing games into Arabic services.

Key Takeaways:

  • 25% is the growth rate of the MENA gaming market.
  • Subsequently, Arabic-speaking games, leveraging the COVID-19 situation, have noticed a rapid growth in the past few years.
  • Last year, the revenue of games was more than 1 billion dollars in the MENA region with expectations that it will rise up to half in the following three years.
  • Last year, the number of players in the region reached 65.32 million with the figure expected to rise to more than 20% in the following three years.
  • Last March, Arabic-language broadcasts on Twitch increased by an annual rate of 95.3%, while January this year saw a rise of 109.9%.

Table of contents

  • MENA Gaming Market
  • Game Publisher VS Game Developer 
  • Video Game Publishers in MENA
  • CCCI – Professional Arabic Game Services 

MENA Gaming Market

Over the past year, electronic gaming has dominated the bulk of the entertainment industry’s global revenue, raising $175 billion, up 22 percent from $21.6 billion for music, which grew by 7 percent.

That boom has made the sector particularly attractive to investments since the pandemic began, with video games among the biggest beneficiaries of the rise in demand for entertainment while staying at home, giving the industry a boost and leading to a big jump in sales.

Increasing indications are that the video game industry in the Middle East markets will take an important turn with investments in this promising sector expected to increase over the next four years.

The reforms have given legislation and changes in regulations adopted by some governments in the region over the past period in technology a strong boost for companies to concentrate their business there.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt together have achieved combined revenues in the gaming sector of about $1.76 billion last year making it a major growth market that has emerged very quickly in the industry.

Data from ADC and New Zoo showed that last year the Saudis topped the Arab list in spending on electronic games by more than $1 billion, accounting for about 20 percent of the region’s total spending of $5.4 billion, followed by Emirates.

Pro Tip

Pro Tip

The MENA market is attracting more international game publishers/developers and it is great to start thinking of investing in this fast-growing arena.

As half of the population in the Middle East are youngsters under the age of 25, therefore, E-games are an essential part of their entertainment. Countries in the region support the e-gaming sector, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE launching policies encouraging the local gaming industry, hosting new studios and offices for global gaming companies, as well as organizing a number of diverse industry-related events.

Last year saw the announcement of a Saudi-Emirati partnership in the gaming industry through the signing of an agreement between Boss Beni Saudi Arabia and the UAE Production Studio for Metri, to invest in an electronic gaming industry inspired by local culture, its production was based on international standards.

The sector’s investments have been followed by countries in the region, most notably the purchase of stakes in international video game companies, including Activision Blizzard, Electronics Arts and Tech-to-Interactive Software. Figures show that the Fund’s investment reached about $6 billion in the first three months of last year.

Game Publisher VS Game Developer

The next part is about the differences between a video game publisher and a video game developer. a publisher owns an intellectual property which would be as such Gears of War Halo or Uncharted. Obviously, they pay for their promotion, marketing, and poster merchandise. We have publishers like EA Activision, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Sony, Microsoft.

Note: The difference between game publishers and developers in MENA is still not that clear as some local companies develop and publish their games.  

The developer owns the game but more often than not is going to be owned by the publisher. so developers are the ones that are actually actively working on the game. These are the developers like Bioware Bethesda Game Studios which is a separate part of Bethesda. Developers do not usually have the chance to work on the marketing, sales, and promotional aspects of the game.

Video Game Publishers in MENA

In the following section, we will list 10 video game publishers in MENA

1. Sandsoft Games has opened a studio in Saudi Arabia to publish games in the MENA region. They will focus on entertainment and game development. The publisher is sponsored by Ajlan & Bros, one of the largest Saudi companies. The firm also recently launched Future Projects, which is dedicated to more than 500 million players. Such a growing number of players is making the region a very fertile young market for video games with few numbers of games developers and publishers. 

2. Tencent, the Chinese whale in the gaming industry, has recently joined Sandsoft in the Arb market. Their first game is Arena of Valor and they don’t seem like they are going to provide video game translation into Arabic but rather incorporate Arabic culture as well. The Middle East offers promising opportunities for developers, thanks to the rapid growth in the gaming market and the presence of a sophisticated technical structure at the international level.

3. MBC Group’s WIZZO developed a game called Invasion starring Lebanese pop-star Haifa Wehbe in an animated form.

4. Tamatem is one of the Jordanian video game publishers in MENA founded in 2013 by Hossam Hammou. Tomato works with international game developers to settle and deploy mobile games in the Arabic-speaking market. The startup has benefited from 100 million game downloads, 1 million monthly active users, and more than 50 published games.

5. Riot Games was founded two years ago with the goal to add a prominent effect in the MENA gaming market.

6. W Ventures is another game developer that flourishes in the region gaining success and growth rate every year. 

7. Falafel Games started its business in China in 2010 and then moved to Lebanon and specifically Beirut, and the company’s presence in China has achieved a lot of benefit to it as it benefited from the accumulated experience of the staff of 10 different nationalities. The company is expanding in the arena of video game translation into Arabic

8. Mays Al Ward, a company specialized in the development of digital games via smartphones, and Jordanian media “Ola Al Faris” in collaboration with Zain and Zain Innovation Platform ZINC launched the game “Ola Around the World”.

9. Tahadi Games was founded in the UAE to be a company that includes companies that did not enter into yahoo’s deal. Tahadi Games is a video game publisher in MENA targeting the markets in the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, and others. 

10. TakTek Games is a Jordanian startup game company that specializes in developing in-house games. Their next release, Replanet, is a mobile game promoting a new experience in dealing with a more innovative interface.

CCCI – Professional Arabic Game Services

CCCI – your one-stop studio for game localization and support outsourcing.

During our 10 years of work experience, CCCI has provided game translation, localization, and