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Video Gaming Statistics 2023

Video gaming is by no means a new pastime. Retro consoles date back to the 1970s with the release of The Odyssey console. But video gaming has evolved considerably with advanced consoles, virtual reality gaming and mobile gaming.

But just how has the market developed here in Qatar and the wider Middle East.

We’ve taken a look at the numbers in our 2023 video gaming statistics round up for 2023.

The Quick Version

Not got all day? Here’s the quick fire facts:

  • The Middle East video gaming market is worth $3.56 billion
  • Across the MENA region, there were 65.3 million gamers in 2021
  • This figure is forecast to grow to 85.8 million in 2025
  • In an average month, there are over 373,000 searches in Google for "PS5" in the Middle East
  • There are a further 264,000+ for “Playstation 5” across the region
  • Mobile gaming alone was worth over $92 billion in 2022

Video Game Market Size in the Middle East

The Middle East video gaming market is fast moving, with millions of video gamers spending cash on consoles and games.

According to one report, the Middle East video gaming market is worth a sizable $3.56 billion.

This source also suggests that as of 2021, there were 65.3 million gamers across the countries of the Middle East, with projections suggesting this figure will be 85.8 million by 2025.

The biggest gaming spenders are in Saudi Arabia, with this MENA country being the highest revenue driver for the industry. But the highest share of gamers in the Middle East comes from Egypt.

That makes the whole MENA region a really significant market for the video games industry with increasing player numbers across a whole host of platforms.

But which consoles are the most popular how are emerging technologies like virtual reality panning out? Let’s take a look.

Popular Consoles - Analysis of Google Searches

Aside from looking at sales alone, a great way to analyse the popularity of something (also enabling us to get a picture of those who might aspire to own something even if they don’t yet) is to have a look at searches for that thing in Google.

So, we used to kwfinder.com to look at the estimated number of searches over the last year for various consoles by name.

We looked at data from each of the countries in the Middle East (with the exception of Syria and Iran for which data is unavailable). You can read a more detailed methodology for this data at the end of this statistics piece.

This is what we found across the Middle East as a whole.

Keyword Number of Searches Across the Middle East Per Month in Google
Xbox One S 71650
XBox One X 17790
PS5 373920
Playstation 5 264580
PS4 280730
Playstation 4 166970
Oculus Quest 7520
Meta Quest 1650
Nintendo Switch 162070
gaming console brands searches per month middle east

We can see:

  • Despite now being an older console, there are still over a quarter of a million searches monthly in Google across the Middle East for “PS4” and over 166,000 for “playstation 4”
  • However, the newer (in demand and harder to come by) PS5 console enjoys more searches. Between “PS5” and “playstation 5” as keywords, there are 638,500 searches per month
  • The Oculus Quest (recently rebranded “Meta Quest” virtual reality headset lags some way behind yet but demand is growing (more on that later)

But which country within the Middle East is searching most? To find out, we added together the searches for each of those keywords across each country and multiplied by 12 (to give us an annual figure).

We then weighted this by population (outlined in more detail within the methodology below) to give us some insight into the number of searches per 1,000 people in each country for modern consoles.

Here’s what we found:

Country Number of Searches for the Popular Console Keywords* Per 1,000 People Each Year
Egypt 7.31
Turkey 141.28
Iraq 6.89
Saudi Arabia 34.23
Yemen 0.38
Jordan 11.89
United Arab Emirates 110.86
Israel 56.02
Lebanon 16.83
Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip) 5.46
Oman 17.86
Kuwait 36.34
Qatar 33.48
Bahrain 44.44
popular gaming console annual searches

*Popular console keywords is non exhaustive and is simply the list of 9 keywords outlined in the previous table

We learned from the numbers that:

  • Turkey is the country within the Middle East where there are most searches per thousand people for current games consoles in Google (141 searches per 1000 people per year)
  • The only other country with over 100 searches per thousand people per year is UAE (111)
  • At the opposite end of the scale, in Yemen there are just 0.38 searches per 1,000 people per year

But What About Retro Consoles?

So we can see demand for high tech consoles on the increase, but what about retro consoles. For many of us, memories of video gaming date back to consoles like the NES, SNES and Sega Megadrive.

We’ve seen a resurgence in the popularity of these consoles in recent years as collectors and avid retro gamers alike take to Ebay and other platforms to get their hands on the vintage games.

We used a similar method as the above to look at the number of searches across the Middle East for various retro consoles and here’s what we found:

Keyword Number of Searches Across the Middle East Per Month in Google
SNES 1930
NES 19210
Sega Megadrive 140
Megadrive 1310
Mastersystem 770
Gameboy 14030
N64 1070
Nintendo 64 2660
popular consoles analysis google searches

Despite being on the older consoles on this list, the NES clocks up over 19,000 searches per month in Google (thought allowances should be made for other potential meanings of the word “NES”).

“Gameboy” gets over 14,000 searches a month in the Middle East too.

VR Gaming

Gaming is, becoming a substantially more immersive affair thanks to incredibly technological advancements in virtual reality. With high quality virtual reality headsets such as the Meta (Oculus) Quest now available for a fraction of the cost of a new, high end smartphone, we’re seeing more and more people taking their gaming up a level.

To assess trends in virtual reality gaming, we took our analysis of search volumes global and looked at searches over time for “virtual reality headset” and similar search phrases.

We looked up monthly volumes over time and then added months together to get annual volumes for each year from 2019 onwards. Here’s what we found:

  Searches in Google Globally for “VR headsets” “Oculus Quest” “Oculus Rift” “Playstation VR”
2019 2736000 12792000 9527000 3210000
2020 5579000 17226000 12078000 3360000
2021 6095000 5253000 6437000 2412000
2022 6796000 3587000 4102000 1913000
vr headsets gloabal searches

What we see from the data above is a huge spike in searches for “oculus quest” in 2019 (release year of the first version) and 2020 (potentially relating to Covid lockdowns).

But since then, searches in Google globally for this keyword have in fact declined.

It’s the same with “Oculus Rift” and “Playstation VR.”

Let’s take into account of course that Oculus has rebranded as Meta in this time.

However, what’s really interesting is that searches for “VR headsets” (the generic term as opposed to searches for a specific headset) are on the up.

Globally, 6,796,000 searches were made in 2022 for “vr headsets” up by a massive 148% since 2019.

So while specific headset might be being less searches (potentially down to increased competition in the market), demand for the headsets in general is absolutely up.

Mobile Gaming

While video gaming has historically been associated with sitting in front of a TV screen or a computer, we can now engage with vast libraries of games on a screen we carry in our pockets. Smartphones have revolutionized video gaming and here are the key facts and figures you need to know in 2023:

  • Mobile gaming alone was worth $92.2 billion globally in 2022
  • That means that mobile gaming now accounts for 50% of the total gaming market globally
  • In the first half of 2022 alone, mobile gamers reportedly spent $41.2 billion
  • In the first quarter of 2022 alone, over 14.4 billion games were downloaded globally across the Apple App Store and Google Play
  • Candy Crush remains the top grossing mobile game

Methodology - Google Search Data

In order to explain how we acquired our Google search data estimates, we’ve outlined the process below.

We used a tool called kwfinder.com, which pulls in data from Google Ads about the estimated number of searches per month for a given keyword. We looked at data from the following countries:

  • Egypt
  • Turkey
  • Iraq
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen
  • Jordan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip)
  • Oman
  • Kuwait
  • Qatar
  • Bahrain

No data was available for Iran and Syria

Here’s what we did with that data.

Total Searches Per Month in Google Across the Middle East for Various Consoles

In cases where we’ve outlined searches across the Middle East month:

  1. We looked at average searches per month in Google in each country for the specified keywords
  2. We added up all of those figures to give us searches across the Middle East

We also then added up searches for all of the consoles outlined and gave a breakdown of total searches per 1,000 people in each country. Here is how we did that.

  1. We looked at average searches per month in Google in each country for the specified keywords
  2. We multiplied this figure by 12 to give us an annual figure for the last 12 months
  3. We obtained the population figures for each country
  4. We divided the annual figure by the population and multiplied by 1,000 to give us the number of searches per year per 1,000 people in the population
  5. We also had a running total line giving us these figures for the whole of the Middle East (minute the two countries where data was unavailable)

You can view the raw data here:


Retro Consoles

We used a similar method as the above for searches for popular consoles. Data again originated from kwfinder.com

More information about our methodology is available on request by email to digital@ubuy.com.