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Saudi Gamers Are Passionate About Esports and Want More Live Events

“Video games form an essential part of our lives”

YouGov, one of the pioneers of online market research for over 20 years has conducted a survey that shows that Saudi Arabian gamers are interested in esports, attend live eSports events and are keen to explore more opportunities in the space. 

Populous, a global architecture practice partnered with YouGov to commission the survey which showed that 53% of gamers who had participated in a live esports event preferred the in-person experience to watching from home. While only 5% dislike leaving their homes to attend live events. 

The survey received responses from over 1,000 male and female citizens of Saudi Arabia aged 18 and above who spend around 7 hours a week playing video games. YouGov went even more in-depth to leverage data tools such as the Global Fan Profiles to provide comparable insights with key differences between gaming and esports fans in Saudi Arabia compared to those in the US, UK, Japan and Germany. 

Rhys Courtney, Senior Principal and EMEA Esports Lead at Populous commented, “The findings underline the huge interest in esports in Saudi Arabia and why many experts in the sector are predicting the Kingdom will become not just a regional but a global hub for the gaming industry. Whether new build, retrofit or mixed-use, esports venues and destinations will be central to the successful delivery of the National Gaming and Esports Strategy and the significant number of associated job opportunities.”

The research findings are somewhat surprising and demonstrated that there’s a significant crossover appeal between gaming and esports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after 78% of gamers said they were interested in esports while 38% said they were “very interested”. 

More than 33% of gamers in KSA said they had participated in an esports event as spectators. The data shows that 25% couldn’t participate because they didn’t live close to an esports arena while 35% of respondents didn’t know when or where the esports events were happening.

The Saudi Arabian National Gaming and eSports Strategy said in the report, “We are investing in our citizens and gamers with the aim to create over 39,000 jobs in development, publishing, infrastructure and other professionals by 2030.”

There is a need to increase awareness of events as 81% of gamers in KSA felt esports events should happen in the country more often than they currently do. More than 85% of people that have participated in esports events said they had an impact on them such as being able to meet up with like-minded individuals.

Courtney added, “As a designer of this new breed of venues, this research will help Populous to continue to raise the bar for live esports experiences, creating venues that bring people together, placing them at the heart of the action and providing an unforgettable shared experience.”

The survey also disclosed the top followed esports games in KSA including FIFA (38%), Call of Duty (27%), Fortnite (17%), Clash Royale (17%), and Apex Legends (13%) with KSA capital Riyadh having the highest number of players.

Download the full survey here

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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