Atul Joshi, the Head of Distribution at Jumbo Group, speaks to Arabian Reseller about the gaming community in the region
What sort of market trends have you seen in the PC Gaming community?
We are seeing the rise of 4K HDR, particularly in PC monitors that are HDR-supported. With this technology, gamers are provided with high-quality visuals, including high-resolution games in 4K and HDR.
During the last quarter of 2017, gaming laptops became thinner and more powerful, thanks to Nvidia’s Max-Q design. AMD’s mobile Ryzen chips, which are present on budget laptops allowed for the chipset to output decent games at 1080p.
‘Games as services’ such as Destiny 2, GTA V and Battlefield, will continue to create demand among PC gamers. In addition, with fast internet streaming, there will also be more web-based games that will be introduced in the coming years.
What sort of products and services do gamers go for in the region?
The products that are quite popular in the region are high-end gaming PCs, keyboards, mice, headsets, controllers, surfaces/mouse mats, and VR headsets as well as newly launched PC games. For the gaming consoles, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox remain the popular products in the region.
For actual gaming products, we have witnessed strong demand for the Sony PlayStation 4, which is a clear market leader in the region. Additionally, the blockbuster gaming franchise ‘God of War’, that is available exclusively on PlayStation and was launched for the PS4 in the UAE on 20th of April, is seeing a tremendous demand from gamers.
What is the split between console gaming and PC gaming in the region?
In 2016, the worldwide gaming market was worth more than $90 billion with PC gaming worth over $36 billion according to a research report by Superdata. Meanwhile, a Statista report indicated that the revenue of the video gaming industry in the Middle East was evaluated at around $3 billion in 2017, with the biggest markets being Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Console-based gaming is more popular among gamers and players in the Gulf region, while low to mid-range PCs are more popular among those in the Levant and North Africa.
Is the PC gaming market growing in the region?
The Middle East and Africa region (MEA) has among the most active gaming communities in the world. According to Newzoo, the leading provider of market intelligence on the global gaming industry, eSports and mobile markets, the MEA region had 587 million online gamers in 2017, playing PC, console and mobile games.
The region is ahead of other fast-growing markets such as Latin America and APAC with a grown rate of 25 percent year-on-year. Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are the top three countries leading the gaming market in the region, with the latter having the biggest gaming market with revenue reaching $651 million.
What more needs to be done in the region for increased uptake of PC gaming?
The rise in eSport is continuously sustaining the demand for gaming PCs in the Middle East. While there are few competitive console gaming events, PC gaming continues to hold major events not only in the region but across the globe. With the government supporting competitive gaming, PC gaming will witness a steady growth.
The Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) has partnered with the Global eSport Resources (GER) to launch and develop a domestic and international Saudi eSport Industry. Dubai has also announced the region’s first online gaming stadium this year, Dubai X-Stadium, dedicated to all things eSports.
How is VR redefining the gaming industry?
As Virtual Reality (VR) gains tremendous momentum, the gaming industry has transformed to include more interactive experiences. Since VR allows gamers interaction with a three-dimensional environment, the signature immersive effect would certainly appeal to gamers.
More brands have now joined the bandwagon and are introducing VR headsets and devices to tap into mainstream gamers. This will pave the way for competitive price points for VR products that can be integrated with not only consoles but PCs as well.
For example, PlayStation has ventured into the realm of Virtual Reality through PlayStation VR, that is the latest member of the PS4 family – whichever PS4 console you own, you’re PS VR ready. Simply connect the headset to your PS4, add a PlayStation Camera and leave reality behind.