The MENA market has one of the highest proportion of whales amongst players. Here’s 6 top tips for the MENA market from 5 experts who publish and develop for MENA.
The tips are given by Mohammed Matough, International Cooperation Manager, GMGC, Nour Khrais, CEO, Maysalward, MJ Fahmi, CEO, Babil Games, Chirag Shah, Head of Carrier Relations, Nazara, Arz Nader, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Game Cooks and Vince Ghossoub, CEO of Falafel Games who were all panelists at GMGC 2015 in Beijing.
1) The Middle East market is highly fragmented
The MENA market is highly fragmented with different characteristics from different countries. For example, the Gulf countries, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have lower populations but a large number of high paying players. Egypt in North Africa has a high population but relatively low ARPPU. As such product as well as monetization strategy is highly country specific. There are three general blocks in MENA with North Africa, The Gulf countries and The Levant and Turkey being the main markets.
2) Localization into Arabic is very important
While the different markets in MENA may have different individual characteristics, they do share the common language of Arabic. Arabic is the Lingua Franca in the middle east, as such a localization into Arabic will be necessary.
3) Payment is a hurdle
In most MENA markets, payment continues to be a problem, with carrier billing and pre-paid cards used as alternative to Apple and Google Pay.
4) Different markets provide different resources
For example, Egypt may not be the best monetizing market, it has a large population with ARPPU at $20-$30 on average (According to our panelists). Player acquisition costs are low there which allows the game to build up a community, so that larger payers in the gulf region like Saudi Arabia can have a sufficient gameplay experience that allows them to pay within the game.
5) Test your games in a few smaller countries before moving to the larger markets
When considering where to test your games, some of our panelists suggested smaller Middle East countries like Jordan and Qatar before moving to bigger markets like Egypt. Although one must be careful when looking at revenue numbers from one market as an indicator of revenue from larger markets. As such out panelists also suggested taking an average of 2 to 3 test markets before making any projections.
6) Here are some numbers you need to know
For mid and hardcore games published in MENA, our panelists suggested an ARPU (Average Revenue per User) of $1 – $2 as a healthy average and an ARPPU (Average Revenue per Paying User) of $50 – $70. Casual games though require a different strategy, with some publishers deriving about 70% of their revenue from ads, with an average of $2.50 eCPM (Revenue per thousand impression) over MENA.
Tan Shi Wei