Once deemed a niche market, the gaming industry surged drastically to an estimated $160 billion industry in 2021. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is one of the fastest-growing gaming markets, with a growth rate of 14.5% year-over-year in 2020 and is currently valued at $5.4 billion. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Egypt are on the frontier of this growth due to housing the highest populations of gamers.
The gaming industry is proliferating in the United Arab Emirates, with rising interest and investment in locally developing homegrown talent and games. It is expected that average gamer spend in the UAE is equivalent to USD 115 per year. As of mid-2021, Saudi Arabia’s current gaming market size is estimated at SR2.6 billion and is expected to reach SR9.5 billion by 2030 (quadruple in size). With the Saudi gaming market’s annual growth rate at 22 percent as of early 2021, it is among the highest in the world. Saudi Arabia was even chosen as the country to host the region’s largest global gaming tournament, PUBG Mobile Star Challenge World Cup; a great milestone in the Middle East gaming industry.
The industry has capitalized on technological advancement and innovative ways such as highly enhanced graphics and immersive gaming experience with the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The availability of reliable, high-speed, low-latency internet connections has enabled the delivery of premium quality user experience to gamers worldwide, both social and professional gamers within the competitive space on a global scale.
To ensure an uninterrupted competitive gaming experience and effortless access to viewing platforms, this requires dependable service and immense capacity. Data centers industry can support this growing market by building the right digital infrastructure that can boost the location, space, connectivity, and latency requirements for gaming.
Data Center Infrastructure
Increasing digitization has seen a sustained boom in data centers being built in recent years. With the raise of COVID-19 pandemic, it was only natural to witness the need for increased data center capacity especially with the reliance on e-commerce, streamed programming, and virtual meetings.
The scalability of a data center is a prerequisite to match with the increasing gamer population and continuous viewing experiences to millions of players around the world. The availability offered by powerful data centers contributes to the ease of game consumption as it allows gamers to play without disruptions.
With on-going advancements in networking and live-streaming technologies, it’s easier than ever to access games on any device. Previously virtual tournaments and online gaming relied on a client-server model and dedicated co-located servers, which was only affordable for large game publishers. Now, publishers of any size can utilize data center resources. This propelled the surge of games that do not require investment in a gaming console to play.
eSport events rely heavily on data centers capabilities to provide unfaltering accessibility. Even the briefest interruption to the game impacts the gamer’s ability to compete effectively and consistently. This also impacts the remote audience’s ability to watch the games. To achieve an uncompromising level of resilience, data centers must have the redundant infrastructure and business continuity strategies in place to guarantee hundred percent uptime.
Capitalize on the Surge in Gaming Interest
With new technologies like 5G and greater focus on network infrastructure, the next phase of gaming is quickly taking hold. Cloud gaming is a streaming service that provides high-quality content at the cost of internet bandwidth and server capacity. Cloud gaming refers to any gaming service which allows players to access and play video games over a livestreamed connection. This is accomplished by using remote data centers, which harness a company’s processing power and stream a game directly to the gamer’s device.
Traditionally, video games required players to own both the game itself and a dedicated consumer hardware to run it. Streaming technology enables most of the computation required for the game to take structure in the cloud, rather than the console. Freed from the constraints of console size, the possibilities for what the video games can be changes dramatically. That means games will no longer be tied to specific platforms or devices.
While a user’s internet situation may determine the performance of a service partially, much of the success will be determined by the ability of data to take the shortest route from the hardware to the provider’s data center.
If there is one thing gamers won’t tolerate, it’s latency. Delays, buffering and packet loss will cause the gamer to stop playing the game and likely stop subscribing to the cloud gaming service. Even milliseconds of lag can jeopardize esports contests and put valuable prizes at stake. One of the most effective ways of reducing latency and easing the overall burden on existing infrastructure is to cache high-demand content in edge data centers that are located closer to end users.
As the largest wholesale data center provider in the United Arab Emirates and the largest in the region, Khazna Data Centers is well-positioned to enable cloud gaming platforms to solve latency issues when transferring data from the cloud to the end user, improve the customer experience in terms of content and functionality, as well as ensure video content is delivered with a high-quality user experience.
The Future of Gaming is Data Center
The gaming industry is likely to continue soaring and high-quality cloud gaming services will need a great deal of computing power to provide the latest and greatest gaming experiences to the gamers. The growing ability to ‘game on the go’ and play at any time and at any place is changing entertainment for everyone. As one of the fastest-growing markets in terms of gamers and revenue, it is only expected for publishers to prioritize the MENA region. Now is the time to build the robust infrastructure, and that requires data centers to manage load fluctuations, guaranteeing scalability and high uptime.