ESI Digital Summer presents: Regional Esports Market Report – Middle East

In anticipation of ESI Digital Summer (#ESIDIGITAL), presented by Kinguin LOUNGE, we’ve taken the time to speak with a number of our esteemed panellists and partners involved in the biggest online B2B esports conference of 2020, to share their perspectives of the unique regional esports scenes represented during the event.

ESI Digital Summer is the second digital conference in line this year for Esports Insider, and we invite stakeholders from in and around the industry globally to join us over August 17th-21st for five consecutive days of content, including 35+ live hours wherein each day will focus on a different and important regional market for the esports industry.

To make reading up on the global perspectives from industry veterans and developing brands easy – we’ve broken up the conversations into regional entries, following the itinerary of ESI Digital Summer.

Each entry also features a shortlist of opportunities and challenges – gleaned from our conversations – and employment data powered by Hitmarker. These are not meant to be exhaustive, rather to provide context for each region from the perspectives of some of the industry’s finest.

To make reading up on the global perspectives from industry veterans and developing brands easy – we’ve broken up the conversations into regional entries, following the itinerary of ESI Digital Summer.

Each entry also features a shortlist of opportunities and challenges – gleaned from our conversations – and employment data powered by Hitmarker. These are not meant to be exhaustive, rather to provide context for each region from the perspectives of some of the industry’s finest.

Regional Esports Market Report – Middle East

The Opportunities

  • New digital and mixed experiences await
  • Massive quantity of Standard Arabic speakers globally
  • Fast-growing population of gamers

The Challenges

  • Uphill battle against poor first-impressions
  • Fragmented landscape, with various languages and cultural differences
  • Lack of transparent, trustworthy data to work with

Employment Data – Powered by Hitmarker

  • .47 percent of total global market share of newly posted jobs in July

Final thoughts

It’s difficult to imagine what the region’s esports scene would look like without the jolt of attention and education afforded because of the lockdowns, according to Majali. He shared an anecdote of injust: December of last year FATE Esports was facing many difficulties that are disappearing thanks to increased exposure. “At least now when I contact a brand or contact a sponsor, whoever it is at least they know exactly what esports is. They take it a bit more seriously than they used to,” he explained.

But with this increased attention there are more people wanting to get into the scene as well. Many new teas are popping up every day, he said. Before a few months ago, FATE Esports was the only organisation in the region with a foreign esports team, but now another team has recently picked up a Swedish CS:GO team. “So now we have competition. Someone doing exactly what we’re doing: a Middle Eastern organisation with a foreign team.” The rising tide can also raise the stakes, it seems.

Kondrat states that today, production is cheap, an esport event can easily be broadcast via OBS and Twitch with a few enthusiastic gamers willing to commentate, and boom, you have an esports broadcast. “To pull off a watchable tournament, not with [super-high] standards, but a watchable tournament for a local audience in their language is pretty doable. And the fact that such tournaments are not gathering high viewership stats, I don’t believe it is because of [a lack of] investments. It comes from something being wrong with the formula of attracting or maybe promoting it or making it visible to local people,” he shared.

Even though Empire Play has been active in the market for a year and a half and achieved monumental partnerships with publishers, Kondrat still believes that a majority of MENA region esports fans would not instantly recognise PowerPlay or most other “big” tournament organiser or broadcasting studio in the region – as opposed to esports fans in Europe and their immediate recognition of ESL or DreamHack, he explained.

Majali is bullish on the region coming up hard and fast into the global esports stage over the next two or three years, given the sudden boost of attention the scene has enjoyed and the immense talent he believes the region boasts. Kondrat also noted that due to the presence of developers and publishers with headquarters and studios in the region, this makes development and growth of the gaming and esports industries that much more seamless.

Be sure to catch both Kondrat and Majali speak during ESI Digital Summer during the Middle East programming on Tuesday, August 18th.

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