Mobile gaming connects and builds communities

Arunabh Madhur
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Mobile gaming is booming – and it’s tipped to keep on growing. PwC projects the global gaming industry to be worth $321 billion by 2026. With MENA mobile penetration increasing day-by-day, it is expected the exceed growth estimates on the global arena. Further, the MENA games market has quickly emerged as a key growth region for the global video game industry. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt's combined game revenue was $1.76 billion in 2021, forecast to reach $3.14 billion in 2025, according to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com. Today’s pool of gamers is experiencing its highest volume in history as the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the number of gamers peak to an all-time high, with non-gamers even taking it up as a social lifeline.

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Today, the average gamer has been playing for 14 years, according to data released by Statista. It seems gaming has effectively taken an agile role in fostering soft and hard skills for communities in the region, representing altogether a powerful tool for community and capacity building alike. Moreover, as Statista released a breathtaking figure showcasing the region emerging at the cusp of the gaming revolution. With over 40.20 million mobile subscribers, mobile penetration in Saudi Arabia effectively stands at 116 percent. Ranking third globally, the Kingdom will soon emerge as a benchmark for mobile gaming trends and developments in community preferences.

Going beyond human connections, gaming helps players from all parts of the world to learn how to work together to achieve a common goal. This has led to the growing popularity of e-sports, particularly in the MENA, bringing players of all genders, ages, nationalities and abilities together to strive for a shared victory. In addition to helping players grow their communication skills and connection, this creates new social opportunities to participate in the growing gaming culture.

Together, such emerging trends have resulted in creating a gaming community, regardless of normative apprehensions that usually come to play. Moreover, as we dive deeper in what has come to be known as the new age of disruption, we also become more attracted to games that mimic our time, and the future-forward world that is continuously being reframed for the benefit of people and planet. New generations of players are fostering new social cues, creating bridges along the way. What was before tagged as hindering social connections, gaming today has truly come to represent an era of emancipation.

Currently, technologies like virtual and augmented reality are driving innovation in the industry and allowing more people to play more games. Some brands such as Netflix are already tapping into gaming, with the popular streaming service recently launching Netflix gaming. In fact, all “big four” tech companies — Apple, Amazon, Meta, Google — have made similar moves, as well as platforms such as TikTok and Zoom. With the improved availability and reach of smartphones, peer-to-peer file transfer apps allow users to share games with other devices without using an active internet connection. It allows players to transfer heavy games in no time and zero data as well as magnify that very basic social habit of sharing.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic uncovered a key trend in mobile gaming: a lot of the sharing behavior moved from data saving to convenience. Growth has become synonymous to trust. In other words, growth is a result of a very simple habit of people trusting their friends and family more than they trust the internet. How does that translate in gaming? It will eventually determine which download takes priority. In this sense growth is more of a gamechanger than ever before.

Mobile gaming has become a force to be reckoned with thanks to access to affordable smartphones growing along with high-speed internet penetration, disruptive technology, and increased mobile penetration. In fact, peer-to-peer file sharing is one of the key areas Every indication points towards the mobile gaming segment. that is dominating discussions within the industry. Near-distance peer-to-peer sharing has created a social ecosystem with people discovering new apps through friends and family, thus resulting in stronger community ties, ultimately redefining growth as we know it.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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