AED 17 million sales for UAE gaming market

Sony PlayStation 3 is currently the market-leading console with a 59 percent market share.

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By  Derek Francis and Vineetha Menon Published  August 17, 2008

Almost 4.5 million games consoles were sold in the UAE between January and May this year, achieving AED 17.78 million ($) in sales during the period, according to figures compiled by Jacky’s Electronics.

Jacky’s confirmed that these figures pertain to the total sales in the country and not just sales through their stores.

The country’s leading electronics retailer said Sony’s PlayStation 3 is currently the market-leading console with 59% market share, thanks in no small part to the success of the Blu-ray DVD format.

Though market share was one of the primary factors considered in the report, the retailer clarified that there were other factors involved. “Sony and Microsoft both have dedicated divisions dedicated to gaming thus there is some sort of strategic planning that is evident. In the case of Nintendo, until they take this region seriously, they can’t expect to be ahead in the UAE as they are currently in some key markets like the United States,” Ashish Panjabi, the retailer’s chief operating officer told ITP.net.

In terms of software, football games rank highly, with Pro Evolution 6 the bestselling title in the UAE, while FIFA08 in fourth place. SmackDown Vs Raw 2008 and Halo 3 are in second and third places respectively.

“Nintendo has gained a niche market because of its interactive consoles and with products such as Wii Fit allowing users to exercise while playing. Since the launch of the Xbox Elite at last year’s GITEX, Microsoft has seen resurgence in sales. Other products such as the Sony PSP have also created a new segment of gamers by offering portability, high-quality graphics and sounds. Its additional features including MP3 players and fashionable colours of pink and white have targeted women as well,” he added.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, console-based gaming currently dominates the UAE market, with PC or online-based gaming still in its infancy. According to the company, PC gaming has the potential to grow “if vendors such as Dell and HP…manage to create enough demand” and software vendors and online gaming content continues to develop.

To promote gaming even further, Jacky’s is holding its first ever gaming competition at its Sharjah City Centre outlet on August 29-30, 2008. The competition, in collaboration with Intel Corporation, is open for all gamers from August 24-27, with the elimination rounds beginning on August 29, and the final held on August 30.

The grand winner will receive an Intel-powered gaming laptop, with the runner-up picking up an Intel-powered gaming desktop. All participants will receive a free PC games, and the retailer promises to hold other gaming events across the UAE.

“The video gaming industry is making a major effort to broaden the appeal of games and consoles to other segments other than the core players of 8-21 year-old males. This gaming competition in Sharjah will help in elevating awareness and reach out to other potential users as well,” Panjabi said.

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