As the year unfolds, it’s essential for every PR agency and social media agency to keep an eye on sectors that are experiencing exponential growth. One such industry is the gaming and eSports market, particularly in the Middle East. This article aims to analyse the booming gaming market in the region, highlighting its potential as a lucrative marketing ground.
According to recent data, the Middle East gaming market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 13.88% from 2022 to 2027. The COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled a surge in online gaming, as more people stay indoors and seek digital entertainment. This has led many gaming vendors to strategically focus on expanding their user base during this period. Thus, any PR agency or social media agency looking to make an impact should definitely consider this thriving sector.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seen a significant rise in the gaming industry, with increasing interest and investment in locally developed talent and games. The average gamer in the UAE spends USD 115 per year, reflecting the country’s commitment to gaming. Moreover, the proliferation of smartphones and online gaming continues to drive the market’s growth.
Saudi Arabia has also shown tremendous support for gaming and eSports. The government is investing billions in theme parks and amusement spaces, which can be explored by trade visitors looking to gain knowledge and experience. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia launched a charity eSports event with a USD 10 million prize fund. This move, not only helps raise funds to combat the virus but also promotes gaming and connects the global gaming community.
The Middle East gaming industry is segmented by gaming type, including consoles, tablets, smartphones, and others. Geographically, the market spans the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, and the rest of the Middle East.
Now, let’s delve into some of the major trends transforming the Middle East gaming market:
Smartphones: A Key Player
Smartphone gaming has seen a significant rise in recent years. In the UAE, mobile gamers reportedly play 20 to 40 minutes of video games a day. Advances in AR, VR, cloud gaming, and 5G are driving the demand for mobile games. The rise of the hyper-casual game genre is another trend to watch out for.
The Rise of AR Gaming
AR is becoming increasingly popular in mobile gaming due to its immersive and interactive nature. Mobile games are now the most popular AR category in app stores. New AR mobile games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Minecraft Earth are joining the ranks of popular titles like Pokémon Go and Ingress.
eSports Betting and Fantasy Sites
eSports are driving the overall gaming industry across the Middle East. Companies such as the Saudi Telecom Company and Activision have introduced dedicated servers for games like Call of Duty, while Riot Games has launched Middle Eastern servers for Valorant. The growing popularity of eSports betting and fantasy sites is another trend every PR agency and social media agency should monitor.
In summary, the Middle East gaming market’s impressive growth opens a world of opportunities for both PR agencies and social media agencies. The emergence of eSports betting, the popularity of smartphone gaming, and the rise of AR games are just some of the trends shaping the industry. As this market continues to evolve, it will be crucial for agencies to adapt their strategies to keep up with the rapid changes in the gaming industry.
eSports Marketing: 4 Game-Changing Strategies Every Event Marketer Should Learn
In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, a PR agency or social media agency aiming to make an impact must tap into booming sectors, and one such sector is eSports. Valued at over $612 million with an audience of 134 million, eSports isn’t just a pastime—it’s a colossal industry that offers unique marketing opportunities, particularly for event marketing. If you are an event marketer looking to break the mould and engage the coveted millennial demographic, eSports marketing could be your game-changer.
Here are four things that every PR agency, social media agency, and event marketer can learn from the skyrocketing world of eSports marketing:
Capitalize on Massive Online Event Audiences
One fact every PR agency or social media agency cannot ignore is that eSports events attract millions of viewers. Championships for popular eSports titles often draw larger audiences than conventional live sports games. For instance, Intel’s Extreme Masters gaming tournament held in Poland garnered the attention of 100,000 viewers and achieved over 3.2 million social media engagements. Similarly, Twitch.tv, the leading eSports streaming site, racks up internet traffic comparable to tech giants like Google, Netflix, and Apple.
The message for event marketers? You must consider capitalizing on these events and devise innovative strategies to leverage this growing trend.
Leverage the Power of Community
The eSports audience boasts a robust sense of community. PR agencies, social media agencies, and event marketers might be surprised to learn that these fans are usually receptive to brand engagements. Research indicates they’re willing to support brands that back their favourite players. For instance, Nissan’s sponsorship of the North American League of Legends players on Team Curse demonstrates this phenomenon.
This demonstrates the potential to approach this unique audience in innovative ways. A strong sense of community, paired with strategic brand alignment, can offer rich targeting possibilities.
Authenticity is Key
When it comes to connecting with eSports fans, a PR agency or social media agency must think beyond standard advertising campaigns. These fans expect brands to be genuinely involved in the community and its activities. Brands that can seamlessly integrate into the eSports culture are the ones that these fans value the most.
For event marketers, the lesson here is to reach audiences in new ways and understand that creating a strong sense of community can yield significant publicity rewards.
Reaching Millennials Requires a Different Approach
Another crucial takeaway for any PR agency or social media agency is that millennials need to be engaged differently. As Joost van Dreunen, CEO and co-founder of SuperData Research, puts it, “It has become increasingly difficult for advertisers to reach this tech-savvy, affluent demographic via traditional marketing channels.”
eSports marketing illuminates the reality that traditional marketing methods often fall flat with the millennial generation. To effectively reach millennials, it’s essential to explore and understand eSports and other innovative marketing platforms. This will allow you to reach out to your audience on their terms, in their environment.
In summary, the flourishing eSports market presents a plethora of lessons and opportunities for PR agencies, social media agencies, and event marketers. Harnessing the potential of this booming sector could be the key to transforming your marketing strategy, reaching larger audiences, fostering a sense of community, maintaining authenticity, and engaging millennials in a language they understand. With the right approach, eSports could be the next big win for your marketing playbook.