Saudi Arabia’s Major Investment in Gaming and eSports

Saudi Arabia's Major Investment in Gaming and eSports | The Enterprise World

Saudi Arabia has invested $488m in the country’s gaming and eSports industry to create a hub for the sector. This significant investment has already shown promising results, with the top 10 game development companies in Saudi Arabia already experiencing considerable growth. The funding sources include contributions from the Saudi eSports Federation, the National Development Fund, and the Social Development Bank.

This article will take a closer look at Saudi Arabia’s investment in gaming and eSports sector. 

1. Transforming Saudi Arabia into a Global Gaming Hub

Saudi Arabia has long aimed to position itself as a global gaming hub, embarking on strategic initiatives to achieve this goal. In 2022, Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled ambitious plans to bolster the kingdom’s gaming and eSports sectors. The strategy centered on establishing local studios, creating over 30 games, and generating more than 39,000 job opportunities by 2030. The National Development Fund, the Saudi eSports Federation, and the Social Development Bank pledged $488 million to support this vision in 2023.

Rawan Al Butairi, director of the federal government’s international affairs office, affirmed Saudi Arabia’s unwavering commitment to expanding its gaming industry. Al Butairi highlighted that the $0.48 billion investment in gaming is just the beginning of the kingdom’s efforts to develop its gaming and eSports sectors.

2. Projected Market Growth in Saudi Arabia’s Gaming Industry  

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The global gaming industry is lucrative and experiencing significant growth due to technological advancements expanding its reach to wider audiences. Saudi Arabia aims to capitalize on this trend by positioning itself as a global gaming hub by 2030. This ambitious goal seems attainable, with YouGov forecasting a remarkable 250% increase in the Saudi gaming sector by the decade’s end.

One of the key drivers of this growth is eSports, which is gaining traction in the region. By 2027, the eSports industry in Saudi Arabia is anticipated to bring in $14.49 million in yearly revenue, playing a significant role in the broader gaming market’s projected valuation of $2,075.00 million. These positive trends suggest that the gaming industry will significantly influence the country’s economic growth.

3. The Changing Perception of Gaming in Saudi Arabia

There has been a notable shift in the country’s perception of gaming and eSports, with Saudi Arabians now viewing virtual games as more than just entertainment but also as a lifestyle and a viable career path. More than 29% of Saudis are interested in eSports, a higher percentage than in the US, Japan, and EU countries. This shift has led to a significant increase in the number and diversity of gamers, contributing to the rising proportion of female gamers in the Middle East. Additionally, the increase in the availability of high-speed internet and mobile devices, coupled with the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the gaming industry, has also contributed to the growth of eSports in the kingdom.

4. Incredible Milestones in Saudi Arabia’s Gaming Industry

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Saudi Arabia’s gaming industry has made significant strides, aligning with its strategic objectives and embracing new innovations. The government’s development of an eSports city in Riyadh has cemented the city’s status as a vital hub for the sector, hosting international events and drawing global attention. The launch of a study program by the Center for Government Communications and the Saudi Ministry of Information has been a boon for 30 organizations in the gaming and eSports industry, enhancing their knowledge base and fostering growth.

Additionally,, a prominent platform for eSports contests, has disclosed an investment in gaming of $100 million to establish a gaming infrastructure, highlighting the vast expansion potential of the industry.

5. Hosting The Inaugural eSports World Cup

The strategic developments and substantial investment in gaming have propelled Saudi Arabia to the forefront of the gaming industry. In a recent announcement, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed that Saudi Arabia will host the first-ever eSports World Cup. Scheduled for the summer of 2024 in Riyadh, the event will become an annual affair. Teams worldwide will compete in various game genres for a grand prize of tens of millions of dollars and the prestigious eSports World Cup champion title. The Crown Prince described hosting the eSports World Cup as “the natural next step” for the Kingdom, marking a significant milestone in the country’s gaming journey.


Saudi Arabia’s investment in gaming industry is positioning the country to become an international gaming center. Evidence suggests a solid trajectory for the nation to lead in the gaming arena as it actively develops new video games poised to advance the industry. 

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