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The game goes out to sea "change", the Middle East and Africa is becoming the next hot land?

2024-04-23 Update From: SLTechnology News&Howtos shulou NAV: SLTechnology News&Howtos > IT Information >


Shulou( Report--

In 2023, going to sea has been promoted to the standard of the industry. To put it more bluntly, "if you don't go to sea, you will be out of the game." it has become the consensus of domestic manufacturers.

At the same time, the raging offshore market is facing a great change: with the intensification of the sailing process, the T0 / T1 market of the United States, Japan and South Korea has entered the stock stage; in addition, affected by the global economic environment, superimposed privacy ecological changes, so that the domestic game industry seeking overseas growth faces greater challenges.

There are challenges and opportunities everywhere in the game. While the space of mature markets such as Europe and the United States, Japan and South Korea has been squeezed, overseas emerging markets have begun to rise. An increasingly obvious trend is that key areas of going out to sea are quietly changing.

In the environment of going out to sea in the whole industry, manufacturers urgently need to be able to dig new areas of high-quality users at low cost in order to achieve rapid breakthrough and long-term growth. How to find potential new overseas markets has become an urgent problem to consider.

From November 27 to December 1, the HDC Together Huawei Terminal Ecological Partnership Summit Forum on the Middle East and Africa was held in Dubai. Among them, Huawei Game Center and manufacturers discussed the opportunities and challenges of the Middle East and African markets. GameLook found that with the fierce competition in the traditional head-to-sea market, more and more peers are looking for a new blue ocean, and the Middle East and Africa market seems to be the next hot place to go to sea.

The few new blue seas, heavy games and social elements are more popular.

Compared with Latin America, Southeast Asia and other markets that have been explored and discussed by overseas manufacturers, the attention in the Middle East and Africa is lower. But in fact, the Middle East and Africa market has long shown a high commercial potential, and attracted ONEMT, IGG, FunPlus and other stars to go to sea.

Last year, while the gaming industry as a whole was in decline, only Latin America (up 3.4% year-on-year) and Central and East Africa (up 6.6% year-on-year) bucked the trend. It is no exaggeration to say that the latter may be one of the few blue ocean markets that need to be tapped, which is quite rare.

The gaming industry in the Middle East and North Africa has grown significantly in recent years, with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 13.8 per cent, according to a report by research firm Niko Partners.

Data show that the number of gamers in the MENA-3 (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt) region reached 65.32 million in 2021, with game revenue of US $1.76 billion. The number of players is expected to increase to 85.76 million and revenue will reach $3.14 billion by 2025.

The rapid development of the game industry in Central and East Africa is inseparable from the strong support of the authorities, and the local government has shown a considerable willingness to invest in the game industry. it is mentioned in Saudi Vision 2030 that it hopes to invest nearly $38 billion in games to incubate more than 200 game companies in 2030.

From the perspective of market growth and official support, the Middle East and Africa market is indeed one of the highest potential markets in the world, providing a natural soil for Chinese manufacturers to go out to sea.

From the characteristics of players in the Middle East and non-regions, according to Snapchat's "2022 Middle East Mobile Games White Paper", the Saudi mobile game ARPU ranks first in the world, reaching US $270. it can be seen that there are a large number of high net worth players and strong ability to pay. From this point of view, Central and Eastern Africa is more suitable for war strategy SLG, RPG and other categories to go to sea, this kind of product life cycle is longer, head players pay higher rates, and is one of the best tracks for Chinese manufacturers.

Another obvious market trend is the increasing average daily time spent by users in the Middle East and Africa on social media. Take "Yalla Ludo" as an example, strong social elements are favored by local users, with Ludo play as the core, combined with the successful experience of the popular social App "Yalla" in the Middle East, "Yalla Ludo" successfully opened up the game market in the Middle East with its interactive game experience.

Opportunities and challenges coexist, how to break the predicament of localization operation?

But frankly speaking, the Middle East and Africa market is also a market with both opportunities and challenges.

As the confluence of Eastern and Western cultures, Central and Eastern Africa has a high degree of acceptance of mainstream games. Based on successful localization products such as "Revenge of Sudan", "MLBB" and "PUBG M", the higher the degree of localization, the more significant the return.

Indeed, the essence of globalization is always inseparable from localization. However, in overseas markets, especially in the relatively unpopular Middle East and African markets, it is far from easy to do a good job in the fine operation of the localization dimension.

On the one hand, due to the difficulties in understanding cultures and languages in Central and East Africa, and there are still some differences between different cultures and languages, manufacturers often need to do a lot of in-depth localization work, including copywriting, UI typesetting, functional adaptation and so on. On the other hand, due to the lack of local distribution team, core users lack of offline maintenance, and multi-layer transmission information distortion makes it difficult for manufacturers to obtain first-hand information. These are the biggest pain points for going out to sea in Central and East Africa.

The main reason is that based on the market environment of small user base, large R and high ARPU in the Middle East non-market, localization and fine operation is more critical. However, there are few successful cases on the market, and few practitioners know how to start.

In fact, for the Central and East African market, not only the construction of basic capabilities such as multi-channel and compliance operation, Huawei Game Center has launched an one-stop solution covering the whole life cycle of products. From the protection of language, art and taboo avoidance of local operations, to the player community internal testing, advanced player vanguard testing, from shallow to deep multi-dimensional user testing, to protect the launch of the product.

Not only the conventional means of operation, but with years of operation and resource accumulation in the Middle East and Africa, Huawei Game Center already has a local operation team that "understands local users better", which is almost its only advantage.

Online, Huawei Game Center can provide traffic from Huawei App Store, Game Center and other private domains for offshore product operations. Through the online resource matrix focus exposure such as advanced resource bit support and exclusive marketing channels, it is easier to achieve accurate marketing and help the incubation and operation of new games.

Offline, Huawei currently has the largest overseas flagship store of more than 2000 square meters in Saudi Arabia, and Huawei's largest overseas single advertisement also appears in the United Arab Emirates. Based on the unique advantages of a large number of offline stores, it can also lay a solid foundation for long-term operation and commercial success of high-quality games.

Relying on rich online resources and offline positions, and based on the localized operation team's deep insight into local users, Huawei Game Center first launched the GTM program to share local market information with partner manufacturers and accurately identify user groups, so as to help game developers better understand the relevant content of the Middle East and non-market.

On this basis, Huawei Game Center further puts forward a three-dimensional management strategy: around the four dimensions of content recommendation, promotion, community and events, combined with the refined operation of users' preferences in Central and East Africa. Integrate local KOL, online operation resources and offline stores, large-scale exhibitions and other promotional exposure, expand new users while tapping the value of existing users, enhance user activity, and develop core paying users.

According to this year's HDC Huawei developer Conference Game Forum, the local cooperation between Huawei Game Center and a well-known domestic game manufacturer has achieved remarkable results. "after eight months, we have increased the whole flow more than tenfold."

To some extent, Huawei Game Center is not only to help single or multiple manufacturers simply open up wasteland in the Middle East and non-markets, but also to build a localized, systematic and refined distribution channel. it is equivalent to directly laying a fast lane connecting non-players in the Middle East and offshore games, and promoting the long-term and high-quality operation of more cooperative products.

Going out to sea into a new rhythm, what is the new antidote?

Since the beginning of this year, a more obvious trend is that with the full return of offline game fairs, Chinese manufacturers have begun to shine overseas, and Chinese games can be seen at the Cologne Game Show in Germany and the video game show in Tokyo. and have come up with an unprecedented luxury lineup of exhibitors.

In GameLook's view, the shift stems from a renewed escalation of competition in overseas markets. With going out to sea and entering the deep water zone, the battlefield has announced the operation advance from the product launch to the offline large-scale exhibition appearance, watering the game in advance among the core players, that is, from the front link to competing for the core users.

With the soaring cost of overseas marketing and the rising cost of getting customers online, there is an urgent need to explore new scenarios for the release of overseas games. Dig deep into the core user demands, close the distance with players, the importance of offline fine operation began to be re-valued.

At the same time, e-sports began to become another excellent carrier for sea-going scene operation, that is, one of the important ways for manufacturers to delineate and transform core users.

According to third-party data, e-sports is a fast-growing industry with more than $1.6 billion in size and more than 920 million viewers of e-sports live streaming. Under this trend, Saudi Arabia's entry into the game will not only have an impact on e-sports 's industry, but also provide another entry point for Chinese games to go out to sea in Central and East Africa.

In depth, from offline large-scale exhibitions to e-sports events, the emergence of more and more overseas distribution scenes is essentially a further refined operation for core users. To put it more bluntly, on the one hand, it tests the resource integration ability of the game platform, on the other hand, it tests the community operation ability of the platform, whether it can break through the barriers of local users and gather large-scale players, so as to build a strong new position.

In this regard, Huawei Game Center can not only provide diversified operational strategies to match new scenarios for publicity, but also have the operational capacity of the local community to help products further reach target users and pan-users.

It is reported that Huawei Game Center has successively participated in local offline exhibitions in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Tunisia and other places, narrowing the distance with players, and held home appliance competitions in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. With online electricity competitions and other rich activities, cater to the preferences of core players, can quickly introduce new games into the position and enhance user stickiness. On Friday, Huawei Game Center jointly held the Yalla Ludo Championship final with Yalla Group. Through all-round promotion such as HUAWEI AppGallery and HUAWEI GameCenter splash screen, banner and other resource bit promotion, online community player gathering, offline store recruitment and game KOL live broadcast, more than 150000 players participated in the competition, doubling the monthly flow of "Yalla Ludo" Huawei channel.

Thanks to its mature three-dimensional business strategy, Huawei Game Center has successfully built brand awareness in the Middle East and African markets. By integrating the omni-directional resources of online platforms, localized communities and offline stores, large-scale exhibitions, e-sports events and other local operational resources, while strengthening the emotional link between players and games, it is expected to transform them into community users and even core users. Through targeted operation to further develop into the core audience, in-depth mining of user value can not only bring short-term growth of product data, but also promote Huawei game center to hold hands with more games in Central and East Africa.


The game circle has never been immutable, and user demand and market trends are always changing, as is the case with "going out to sea". It can be predicted that under the grand narrative of the global release of the whole industry, "omni-directional deep submersible going to sea" is bound to be the major trend in the future.

On the one hand, manufacturers are required to continue to dig vertically to explore ways to accurately locate high-value players in mainstream markets such as the United States, Japan and South Korea; on the other hand, they begin to horizontally explore the breadth of key areas out to sea, that is, to increase the layout of the T2 / T3 market and actively seek new increments.

In the relatively unpopular region of Central and East Africa, Huawei Game Center has quietly set up a set of diversified and three-dimensional games to go to sea: based on the user scale of more than 230 million global players, superimposed mature local operation platform and strong integration of local operation resources can respond to the different business needs of manufacturers and help partners win dividends in the Central and East African market.

From a higher dimension, not only the Middle East and African markets, but also other overseas regions still have many opportunities. With the continuous exploration of Huawei Game Center, it is believed that more and more domestic games will be successful at sea, which is worth looking forward to.

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