The MENA region is the fastest growing gaming region in the world. It is no longer enough for fans to play games in their room alone or to watch YouTube videos of gameplay to satisfy their passion. Arabic speaking gaming fans continue to demand more opportunities to see their favourite professional and amateur gamers in action, interact with them, and make friends who share their love for games.
Nothing is quite like the tension and excitement that builds during a gaming tournament. Competitions give players a chance to put their skills to the test, and viewers a look at the unique play styles of different teams, making the whole gaming experience more engaging.
Furthermore, many companies have started to invest significantly in large scale competitions to make it easier for talented gamers in the Middle East to shine. Without the social aspect, however, Arabic speaking gaming fans find it challenging maintain interest in pro matches as they feel disconnected from their favourite players and have no way to get involved.
Bigo Live, one of the leading social live-streaming platforms in the Middle East, and Funplus, developer of hit game State of Survival (SOS), have teamed up to provide Arabic speaking gaming fans a platform that combines both the competitive and social elements of gaming for the most immersive experience.
The two companies co-hosted a 20-day competition on State-of-Survival (SOS) with each pro team using Bigo Live to stream everything going on, talk to fans, and express their originality. Viewers could build relationships with each other over live discussions about the ongoing game, and even have conversations with the players that they rarely had the access to do before.
“By competing against each other in real-time and in a safe place, gamers evoke feelings of mastery and excitement.” said Liam Lin, General Manager of Bigo Live. “Compared to single-player games, social interactions such as working together for a common cause in multiplayer online games have further enhanced gameplay and uncertainties, which in turn play an important part in attracting viewers to watch gamers as they live stream.”
Tribal culture plays an important role in the Middle East and people are influenced by this culture. In SLG games like SOS, users gather members, form alliances and fight for the glory of their teams. This pattern reflects the spirit of togetherness in tribal cultures and that’s one of the reasons why games that have alliance patterns are popular in this region. Mr. Lin further stated that Bigo Live saw how communities kept thriving on our platform and they are glad to promote the social aspect of the gaming experience through livestreaming.
Jessie Han, Marketing Manager of FunPlus added “Livestreaming is very organic and engaging, which is especially beneficial for real-time strategy games.” “Streamers can interact with the viewers, for example, while making strategic moves in State of Survival or any other FunPlus game.”
Moreover, greater interactions that came from the collaboration between Bigo Live and FunPlys fostered a sense of community among MENA region fans. Now, Arabic Speaking gamers know they can benefit from sharing their ideas about games on a personal level today – perhaps from a professional capacity as well.
“A variety of in-game incentives worth up to over USD 140,000 were made available for viewers and top State of Survival alliances,” continued Ms. Han. “Our streamers co-hosted several streams with top Bigo Live streamers to introduce game features, engage with fans and provide various rewards, reaching nearly 4,000 PCU.”
Gaming fans have become more motivated to create content as they realize the market for their passion is real. Many young talented gamers have grown large followings and gained access to a loyal audience by livestreaming their gameplay and chatting with their fans. This has inspired waves of broadcasters to join in and share their unique personality and gaming skills with the world.
However, the creator movement relies on a constant flow of interesting games to truly thrive. Content has always suffered when game developers produce bland games for that year. Unexpected challenges such as COVID-19 coming in the way of in person events and contests can also get in the way of gaming content creators.
“During the pandemic, a lot of people lost their jobs and millions of young gamers started thinking about becoming professional gaming broadcasters to avoid being financially vulnerable,” explained Mr. Lin. “As many events like gaming tournaments were cancelled or moved online, livestreaming platforms like Bigo Live have not only lowered the threshold for hosting and participating in gaming contests, but also enhanced immersive experience by allowing real-time interactions between broadcasters and viewers”
Games that revolve around cooperative and competitive gameplay have historically been the most successful. The Arabic speaking world, specifically, has also always valued community which is why the region will always find greater appeal in games, companies, and platforms that make that possible. In fact, Bigo Live looks to double down on investing in the gaming community with the MENA region.
According to Consultancy RedSeer, annual proceeds from the gaming industry in the MENA region which has increased by 15% in 2021 – one of the greatest in the world.
“Livestreaming can be a game-changer in the gaming industry, and we are thrilled to team up with world-class developers like FunPlus to bring the interactive esports experience to this region, said Mr. Lin. “Bigo Live is aiming to become one of the mainstream platforms that support gaming communities across the region to grow and socialise, providing gaming enthusiasts with a virtual space to introduce, discuss, and share their favourite games with others.”