Both global and regional trends are rapidly evolving as new regulatory pushes occur, smartphones move the needle in key markets, and government initiatives spur innovation. Each of these drivers touches multiple components of the gaming value chain and may potentially unlock new opportunities for payments solution providers who keep a finger on the pulse of these changes.
The most impactful global trend is the push for decentralization of the App Store market currently dominated by Google and Apple. These tech giants are gatekeepers to gaming payments, charging up to 30% commissions on third-party payment link transactions. Global regulators are working to increase competition in the app market by passing laws that require large tech companies to allow third-party app stores in their mobile operating systems.
On the regional front, the gaming market is growing in EEMEA, bolstered by smartphone penetration and government-led investments and initiatives. Mobile gaming underpins much of the expansion, claiming more than 60% of gamers in MENA and a whopping 95% in the SSA region.
Understanding the interplay between government-led innovation and the regional popularity of mobile gaming as outlined below could prove pivotal in exploring payments solutions for gaming.
Turkey & Pakistan – Turkey has become the Silicon Valley of the regional mobile gaming industry, with the second-largest gaming ecosystem in Europe. It is the eighth biggest country in mobile gaming by revenue, hauling in US$ 2.3B in 2021. Pakistan is a mobile-first gaming market, with mobile games generating US$ 171.30M in 2022.
KSA – Gaming consumption in KSA is projected to reach US$ 6.8B by 2030, increasing by an average of 22% CAGR. Savvy Games, a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), acquired ESL gaming and FACEIT among other efforts to build up its stakes in gaming and esports over the past two years.
UAE – Nine in 10 adults in the UAE play video games, and gamers in the region generated US$ 520M in revenue in 2021. AD Gaming, a collaborative, government-led program, caters to gaming professionals to develop a self-sustaining gaming ecosystem.
Egypt – Egypt’s true potential as a gaming market remains to be realized, though opportunities exist. While MENA’s largest nation has just 57% internet penetration, it has the highest number of gamers at 38 million — and 92% of people between 16 and 24 years old engage in mobile gaming.
Sub Saharan Africa1 – The number of gamers in sub-Saharan Africa increased to 186 million people in 2021 from 77 million in 2015. The bulk of these (95%) are mobile gamers, driven by increasing digitization across the continent. African gamers spend 16 minutes per day on mobile gaming— with mobile data consumption in SSA expected to almost quadruple from 2.9 GB monthly to 11 GB within the next four years.
1Seas Monster (South Africa), Kayfo Games (Senegal), Kiro1o Games (Cameroon), Leti Arts (Ghana), Digital Mania (Tunisia), Qene Games (Ethiopia), Usiki Games (Kenya), Khanga Rue (Tanzania), DoepApps (Rwanda), Masseka Games (African Diaspora)