Home News & Blog The Psychology of Esports Viewership in MENA and GCC

The Psychology of Esports Viewership in MENA and GCC

December 23, 2023

Esports health Mena Videogames

The world of esports has evolved from a niche passion to a global phenomenon, capturing the attention of millions worldwide. This burgeoning popularity sparks curiosity about the motivations of esports spectators, particularly in regions like MENA and GCC where esports are experiencing rapid growth. Understanding the psychological underpinnings of viewership in these regions sheds light on what fuels this exciting phenomenon.

Seeking Thrills and Escape:

One primary driver of esports viewership is the thrill and excitement associated with high-stakes competition. Studies by the Nielsen Esports Fan Insights Report 2023 reveal that over 60% of esports viewers globally are drawn to the adrenaline rush and unpredictable nature of esports tournaments. This resonates particularly with young audiences in MENA and GCC, as research conducted by the Dubai Lynx Esports & Gaming Survey 2022 indicates that 73% of young gamers in the region watch esports for the excitement and entertainment value.

Admiring Mastery and Strategy:

Esports viewers are captivated by the exceptional skill and strategic prowess of professional gamers. A 2021 study by the University of California, Irvine, titled “The Psychology of Esports Spectatorship,” found that viewers have a deep respect for the cognitive abilities and decision-making skills displayed by top esports players. This admiration is further amplified in MENA and GCC, where cultural values of respect for expertise and strategic thinking resonate with the fast-paced, tactical nature of many esports titles.

Showdown first major EC open esports tournament with Education city attracted more than 600 attendees to the venue

Building Community and Belonging:

Esports transcend the boundaries of the screen, fostering a strong sense of community among fans. Platforms like online forums, watch parties, and tournaments create spaces for shared passion, connection, and discussion. A 2022 report by the International Esports Federation (IESF) titled “The Social Impact of Esports” highlights the role of esports in building communities and fostering social bonds, particularly among marginalized groups such as women and young people. This sense of belonging resonates within the MENA and GCC region, where esports provide a platform for connection and shared experiences outside traditional social circles.

Entertainment and Socialization:

Esports offer a form of entertainment that rivals traditional sports, captivating viewers with engaging commentary, captivating narratives, and high-production values. Research from the Esports Business Network’s 2023 “Esports Viewership Trends” report indicates that a growing number of viewers are drawn to the immersive experience and spectacle offered by esports tournaments. This trend is equally apparent in MENA and GCC, where a 2023 survey by the Saudi Esports Federation found that 68% of esports viewers in the region watch for the entertainment value and sense of community it provides.

Showdown in collaboration with team MANA, held a charity community tournament with Qatar Charity

Motivations in MENA and GCC:

The motivations of esports spectators in MENA and GCC are shaped by the region’s unique cultural and social dynamics. Strong family bonds and communal values play a significant role. Additionally, the region’s young tech-savvy population readily embraces the fast-paced, strategic, and social aspects of esports, as reported by a 2022 study by the MENA Esports Council titled “Esports in MENA: A Booming Industry.”

The desire for thrills, admiration for skill, community building, and engaging entertainment drive the viewership of esports in MENA and GCC. Understanding these motivations is crucial for shaping the future of esports in the region, catering to the preferences of its passionate fanbase and maximizing its positive impact on society.