Nearly four in 10 nationals in the region play video games (36%). Overall, this has changed little since 2014, though the number of nationals who play video games declined in Lebanon, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, but rose in Egypt. Only 13% of nationals play video games daily, but nearly one-quarter play video games weekly. Emiratis and Saudis are more likely than other nationals to play video games at least once a week, and Qataris are least likely to do so (37% Emiratis and 31% Saudis vs. 24% Lebanese, 22% Egyptians, 21% Tunisians, 17% Qataris). Only Emiratis exhibit an increase in weekly gaming activity since 2014 (29% in 2014 vs. 37% in 2016). Men are more likely than women to play video games at least once a week (29% vs. 20%), and 18 to 24 year-olds are more likely than all other age groups to play video games weekly (43% of 18 to 24 year-olds vs. 30% of 25 to 34 year-olds, 17% of 35 to 44 year-olds, 6% of those 45 years and older).
Six in 10 nationals who own a smartphone play games on their phone (59%), and about half as many do so daily (28%). Tunisians are the most likely to play games on a phone every day, while Qataris are the least likely. Overall, men are more likely than women to play games on a phone at all as well as daily (at all: 62% men vs. 56% women, daily: 31% men vs. 25% women ). Playing games on a phone daily declines with age, with 18 to 24 year-olds almost four times as likely as those 45 years and older to play games on a phone every day (41% vs. 11%). Playing games on a phone increases with education. Only 13% of those with a primary education or less play games on a phone each day, compared to one-third of university graduates.
Among all nationals who play video games or play games on a phone, seven is the median number of hours spent playing video games each week; the median is highest in the UAE at 14 hours and lowest in Qatar at three hours. Women who play video games or games on a phone spend as much time playing video games weekly as men (median: seven hours for both groups). Young adults (18-24) spend the most time playing video games weekly.
On average, nationals who play video games or games on a phone report that three-quarters of their gaming time is spent playing alone, and one-quarter of their time is spent playing with others. Compared to other nationals who play video games or games on a phone, Qataris and Emiratis spend more time, on average, playing with others. In addition, Qataris and Emiratis report the highest average percentage of time playing with others online (24% Qataris and 22% Emiratis vs. 17% Lebanese, 10% Saudis, 14% Tunisians, 8% Egyptians).
Men and women both spend the majority of their gaming time alone (70% and 78%), although men are more likely than women to be playing with others overall and specifically online (overall: 30% men vs. 22% women, online: 16% men vs. 11% women). Similarly, younger adults in the region spend more time playing with others in general compared to those ages 35 and older (29% of 18 to 24 year-olds vs. 23% of 35 to 44 year-olds, 22% of those 45 years and older), as well as with others specifically online.
Only 7% of Arab nationals who use the internet say they are willing to pay for online video games. Emiratis, who are the most likely to play video games, are at least twice as likely as any other nationals to be willing to pay for video games online (20% Emiratis vs. 9% Lebanese, 8% Qataris, 5% Saudis, 4% Egyptians, 4% Tunisians). Emiratis are also at least twice as likely to have paid for video games online in the past year (19% vs. 8% or less in other countries). More men than women express a willingness to pay for online video games and to have paid for video games in the past year (willing to pay: 9% men vs. 5% women, have paid: 7% men vs. 4% women), though all of these numbers are generally low. The youngest adults (18-24) are also more likely than the oldest adults to be willing to pay for online video games or to have paid for them in the past year, but still in small numbers (willing to pay: 11% of 18 to 24 year olds vs. 4% of 45 years and older, have paid: 9% of 18 to 24 year-olds vs. 3% of 45 years and older).