The new ‘Game Mode’ initiative seeks to pit the nation’s telcos against one another to deliver the best gaming service

Gaming is flourishing in many markets around the world right now and Saudi Arabia is no exception. In fact, the Kingdom’s gaming sector is expanding so rapidly that forecasts predict it will quadruple in size by 2030.
Now, seeking to capitalise on and further enhance this growth, Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission has launched a new initiative called ‘Game Mode’, aiming to push the nation’s telcos to provide the best possible experience for the nation’s gamers.
The Game Mode initiative will introduce quarterly reports comparing the operators’ response times on popular video games, aiming to promote healthy competition. Each quarter, an award will be available for the operator with the best response time for gaming.
The first Game Mode quarterly report tested the nation’s networks across a variety of popular games, including Fortnite, FIFA, and Apex Legends, with varying results. Mobily topped the list when it came to Fortnite, with an average response time of 21 seconds, versus a national average of 33 seconds. Mobily also beat its rivals with regards to Apex Legends, but was beaten by Zain’s 29 second average response time when it came to FIFA.
When it came to overall latency, Integrated Telecom performed best for fixed internet (9ms), while Zain placed first for mobile latency (33ms).
It is hoped that the quarterly Game Mode report will provide health competition between operators, as well as increased transparency. It will also help identify the most popular video game platforms and games, and provide gamers themselves with guidelines for improving their overall internet connection quality.
Currently, the Saudia Arabian gaming market is estimated to be worth around $690 million and has one of the highest growth rates in the world at 22%. By 2030, forecasts predict that the market will have risen in value to around $2.5 billion.
This focus on gaming in the Kingdom extends beyond the country’s telecoms sector. In the final quarter of last year,  the Riyadh-based Public Investment Fund announced it had acquired more than $3 billion in stock from US video-game makers, including Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts.
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