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9 Unlikely Gaming Nations We Bet You Didn’t Know

9 Unlikely Gaming Nations We Bet You Didn’t Know

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China had 696.5 million online gamers players in 2022, according to research on gaming revenue by Newzoo.com. Now those are big numbers, but let’s give it some perspective. China has a population of about 1.3 billion people, and that means nearly half its population logs onto a game each day. That’s the power of gaming.

Gaming has the ability to cut across cultures and draw different people together. You’d expect countries like the United States, the UK, South Korea and Japan to have huge numbers of gamers. But we bet ya didn’t know that some countries are massive gaming fans under the radar.

In this article, we’re about to check out nine countries that are massive gamers, though you didn’t know it!

1,2. Indonesia & The Philippines

Indonesia and the Philippines take the crown in Asia, with Indonesia being the big dog. Indonesian mobile devs release hundreds of games each month. The online app and gaming sectors bring in at least $2 billion to the local GDP according to official government data.

The Philippines has hosted a variety of gaming conventions and various top tournaments over the years. Those include the Asia Pop Comic Convention and eSports Gaming Summit. Additionally, the Philippine Esports Organization represents the Philippines in the International eSports Federation.

In terms of preference, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a national obsession. It even has its own professional league (MPL Indonesia). Season 13 of MPL Indonesia had a total prize pool of $336,500, with the winning team bagging a cash prize of up to $63,000. Filipinos gravitate towards MMORPGs like Ragnarök Online and Dota 2. The International Dota 2’s annual esports championship is a major national event.

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3,4. Thailand & Vietnam

Thailand sits pretty at the top of South East Asia. With millions of gamers and revenues in excess of $1 billion, Thailand is a true gaming hub. The Thai Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) is hands-on in supporting local game dev capacity.  Esports was recognized as a professional sport in 2021.

Vietnam is another gaming giant in South East Asia bringing in revenues of nearly $600 million in 2022. The country has a huge population of gamers in the millions. Popular esports here include Zombies Boom, Garena Mobile, Minecraft, League of Legends, and Valorant.

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Similar to the Philippines, MMORPGs reign supreme in Thailand and Vietnam. Popular choices include Lineage 2 Revolution and Liên Quân Mobile (Arena of Valor). Vietnam has also hosted international Age of Empires tournaments.

5,6,7. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt

Move over, oil! Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are some of the unlikely candidates on this list. Yes, these countries from the Middle East and North Africa share a common DNA in their love for gaming.

In Saudi Arabia, online gaming is booming. Revenues are expected to hit upwards of $200 million by 2025. Nearly 60% of users identify as gamers, and women surprisingly make up half that number. The government is also pumping in the dollars to ensure that eSports thrives. Bodies like the Saudi Esports Federation have been launched under the framework of the National Gaming and Esports Strategy.

Popular games in Saudi Arabia include Fortnite and PUBG Mobile. Additionally, the country has conceptualized and hosted tournaments like Gamers8, which attract a global audience. A massive gaming district has been planned in Qiddiya.

The UAE is another gaming giant in the Middle East with a huge population of young gamers. The average e-gamer in the Emirates spends about $115/year. With a majority of its population being the youth, it’s little wonder that 73% of folks in the UAE identify as online gamers. A huge number of gamers also work professionally, meaning they are paid to game. For your average gamer, you can expect to find fans of Candy Crush Saga, FIFA,  Call of Duty, and Final Fantasy.

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Egypt is another gaming powerhouse and one of the unlikely names on this listicle. Gaming is expected to top revenues of $620 million by 2027. You’ll also come across popular esports events such as Insomnia Gaming Festival, with popular games including Fortnite and Counterstrike.

8. India

This shouldn’t come as a surprise since there are so many game devs and techies in India. With a population bigger than China, India could potentially become the biggest gaming market in the world. Revenues are expected to stand at around $700 million per year. India has hosted plenty of eSports tournies such as the PUBG Mobile India Series, the Indian Gaming League (IGL), and the ESL India Premiership.

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Gaming is also becoming a big part of India’s media and entertainment industry, only trailing radio, television and print. Popular games with the Indian public are mobile-based, and include titles like PUBG Mobile and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

9. Brazil

Brazil rounds out this list of top unlikely gaming nations. The country is not only a soccer powerhouse, but it has a surprising 85% online gamer population. Mobile gaming dominates though, and you’ll find regular Joes smashing away on Call of Duty: Mobile and Free Fire and League of Legends.

The country has an established e-sports scene, with year-round competitions like LOUD, Honor of Kings Championship in 2022, and the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang eSports league.

Conclusion

So, there you have it! The top 9 unlikely countries you probably didn’t expect to see on a world gaming list. You’ll find a dedicated community of gamers here, from the beautiful sands of South East Asia, to the favelas of Rio.

We’re barely scratching the surface with this list, especially in the ever-evolving world of gaming. Stay tuned for more articles like this to know all the inside scoop about gaming.