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6 Key Takeaways from DGC Dubai 2020

From 21st to 23rd June we attended the MENA region’s biggest gaming industry conference – DGC Dubai (this year a virtual event).

With panel discussions, one-on-one talks and launches from gaming industry experts across the world, we got an insight into first hand gaming trends and market opportunities.

Here are our top takeaways from the event:

1. Hyper-Casual Gaming is Growing

Hyper-casual is mobile’s latest disruption in the gaming industry. Its mass appeal with snackable and visually stimulating content means it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

  • 20% of new gamers are coming from the hyper-casual category – with some gamers converted to mid and hardcore games
  • The first time gaming experience is important – users want to understand the game and get satisfaction instantly
  • There are opportunities for monetisation through in-app purchases and advertising
  • A monetisation mix of IAP and IAA works well as it creates a better user experience, leading to greater user retention

2. Mobile eSports is on the Rise

Significant growth in the eSports market is expected within the next 2 to 3 years with increased online activity and the rollout of 5G having the greatest impact.

  • The key for eSports success is to engage with local companies and partners who already have access to customers on their platform e.g. Fintech companies, media industry players, Telcos
  • Telcos are an extremely good potential partner as they already have a customer base and digital traffic
  • Mobile eSports is on the rise – the availability of low cost smartphone access, particularly in developing countries is opening the door for users
  • The industry is seeing a core young demographic – many of whom are playing on their smartphones at home
  • Future developments for eSports exist in AI and the ‘third space’ e.g. shopping inside a game, automatic ordering of a taxi on the platform

gaming

3. Gaming is Getting Social

Gaming conversion on Twitter is on the rise globally.

  • There were 1.2 billion gaming related tweets on Twitter last year – a 20% year on year increase in conversion volume
  • Story-based, adventure games are popular on the platform
  • Opportunities to keep up with gaming trends, new releases and influencer reviews as well as connecting with developers and gaming personalities in real time is driving engagement
  • Monetisation opportunities exist for content

4. Maximising Ad Monetisation

Brands need to show the right ad, in the right region for their target customer, in the right place in an app in order to maximise revenue.

  • In-app purchases are a stable revenue stream for game developers
  • Reward ads have been seen to increase user engagement
  • Users can still have a good gaming experience with ads as they are a source of information
  • In casual and hyper-casual gaming users play for only a short time, therefore the ads don’t harm user retention as they would in hard and mid-core games
  • For successful monetisation, players must have a reason to come back to play. Advertising should be used but not abused

5. Opportunities in MENA

The MENA region is an important upcoming region for gaming with the population having a big appetite for games.

  • Casual and hyper-casual gaming is dominating, with action, strategy and RPG games popular
  • It is estimated 85% of UAE gamers play at home, and 61% play alone – as opposed to other markets where multiplayer is more popular
  • Mobile gaming continues to increase due to decreased frictions e.g. easy internet access, no console purchase necessary
  • Achievement based, interactive learning is the future, however there isn’t enough digital learning content across MENA as a region. Opportunities exist in game-based and achievement learning
  • The region is very diverse when it comes to culture, language and user profiles – content must be adapted in order to drive game engagement and purchases
  • The Middle East has a huge unbanked population compared to the global market, therefore monetisation strategy is of upmost importance for game developers
  • Mobile operators are the main point of distribution when it comes to a lot of digital content
  • Developers need to work with partners who can provide them with the best local payment options – allowing them to concentrate on game development

6. Opportunities in Asia

South East Asia is a diverse region in terms of language and culture. Casual and hyper-casual games are dominating the market with female gamers being a catalyst for growth.

  • There is a need to localise gaming content, developers should have a global outlook but concepts should connect with local users
  • It is predicated that the next billion internet users over the next 5 years will come from:
    • India – 350 million
    • China – 300 million
    • Africa – 275 million
    • South East Asia – 75 million
  • 95% of users of top apps are outside of the country of origin, generating 85% of app revenue
  • App performance is the biggest barrier to entry e.g. poor quality, outdated content, cumbersome onboarding and registration
  • Asia contributes to almost half (48%) of the global gaming revenue – 2019 global gaming revenue was $145 billion, $69 billion of which came from Asia
  • Monetisation opportunities exist in hybrid monetisation from both advertising and in-app purchases
  • Female gamers are a catalyst for growth in Asia – year on year growth of female gamers (14.8%) is almost double that of total gamers (7.8%)
  • In 2019 female gamers in Asia accounted for 35% of mobile game revenue, forecasted to rise to 39% in 2020. In China 60% of spend by female gamers is on mobile
  • During the Covid-19 crisis engagement and monetisation has increased dramatically for female gamers – With mobile gaming time growing by 96.8% and mobile spending on games growing by 78%

Looking for a seamless payment solution that will allow your games to reach global markets? Get in touch with SLA Digital to discuss direct carrier billing opportunities.

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