More than seven in ten weekly gamers in Saudi say they use smartphones to play video games
August 16th, 2023, Bhawna Singh

More than seven in ten weekly gamers in Saudi say they use smartphones to play video games

Since July 6, Riyadh has been hosting one of the world’s largest gaming festivals - Gamers8, organised by the Saudi Esports Federation. The eight-week long event is reaching its conclusion in August, marking the end of another successful gaming event in the Kingdom.

YouGov’s latest research shows that KSA residents have a positive perception of Gamers8 festival, with two-thirds (67%) agreeing with the statement, “Gamers8 will strengthen the kingdom's standing as future global hub for the gaming industry”. The majority also believes that the festival will encourage tourism within the region (64%) and help nurture gaming athletes and develop Saudi Arabia's gaming community (63%).

The festival scores high on interest, with three in five KSA residents saying they plan to engage in some way (e.g. attend, participate or watch online).

Among the various aspects of the event, esports competitions and tournaments are the most appealing to people (55%), followed by the cultural and entertainment elements such as live concerts (50%). Many are drawn to the family attractions (44%) and community gaming events (42%), and some find the educational workshops and masterclasses interesting (27%).

As the Kingdom becomes a global gaming hub, YouGov has done a deep dive to shed some light on the gaming behaviour of KSA residents. Latest data from YouGov Surveys: Serviced shows that out of a list of media & entertainment activities undertaken in a typical week, one in eight KSA residents (13%) claim they spend most of their time playing video games on a console, PC, mobile phone or any other handheld device.

Gaming surpasses activities such as watching live streamed video content online (10%), listening to radio (6%), podcasts (4%), reading a newspaper or book (5%), or streaming music (3%).

When asked about the time they typically spend on gaming each week, the largest proportion said they spend around 3-6 hours (22%), followed by a fifth (20%) who said they spend 2 hours. A similar number (21%) spend over 7 hours a week playing video games, including 7% who spend more than 20 hours gaming in a typical week.

When it comes to the device used for gaming, smartphones are the top device used amongst weekly gamers in Saudi Arabia (at 73%). Although mobile devices have opened the gates to casual gaming in a big way, the likes of Xbox and PlayStation continue to appeal to gaming enthusiasts with a third (34%) of weekly gamers using dedicated gaming consoles to play video games. Men are more likely than women to say this (38% men vs 29% women).

Desktops/ laptops (33%) and tablets (25%) are also widely used among gamers. One in seven residents (14%) use high-end gaming PCs, with those between 35 and 44 years showing the highest rate of adoption of these devices (at 20%).

Despite the gaming potential of VR and the steady rise of the metaverse, the adoption of VR headsets remains low, with only 9% of weekly gamers using VR headsets during their gaming sessions.

Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online in August 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 1006 adults in Saudi Arabia (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by gender, age, socioeconomic class, city tier to be representative of the adult population in KSA (18 years or older). Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.