A career in gaming? For some UAE gamers, that means even $20,000 a month

Dubai: A career in the gaming industry? Not when your take home pay can be as high as $20,000 per month.

Check out Bashar Mohammed Khair Al Kayal. Born and raised in the United Arab Emirates, the 25-year-old has 1.41 million subscribers on his YouTube channel @Basharkk and over 100,000 followers on Instagram and his TikTok. Kayal, who graduated from the University of Abu Dhabi in 2020, started gaming at the age of 5 and in 2009 he shared a video on YouTube.

A lucrative career in gaming was an opportunity, even as a civil engineer turned professional esports “athlete.” Today, Kayal earns an average of $15,000-$20,000 from advertising and sponsorship deals in the gaming ecosystem. He earns his $3,000 just from streaming on YouTube.

Some brands that reach out to advertising deals have nothing to do with gaming, but they understand the potential audience that gaming can reach.

– Bashar Mohammed Khair al-Khayar

Monetization on online streaming platforms such as Amazon-owned Twitch and YouTube has increased significantly, especially after the pandemic. Gamers can live stream to their audience on Twitch and YouTube. A small video game streamer can earn from $50 to $1,000 on Twitch, and that number is growing in the region. However, most streamers are loyal to YouTube in the UAE and Middle East region, especially Saudi Arabia.

full time job

“I haven’t worked a single day in my life as a civil engineer. I’ve been gaming full-time since graduating from college in 2020,” says Kayal. “At that time, he reached 1 million subscribers on my page.”

Like many gamers, Kayal plays and streams popular first-person titles like Call of Duty, Valorant, and Counter-Strike.

Emirati YouTuber Peerless has been gaming and streaming for the last four years. With 269,000 subscribers, Peerless is just getting into the game. Still, his average income is $5,000 a month.

“It started as a hobby, but I quickly realized that this could become a full-time job,” he said. With sponsorship deals from BenQ, Asus, and Saudi Arabian companies, Peerless hopes to boost revenue.

However, Kayal and Peerless say that unlike Saudi Arabia, the UAE’s YouTube community is more focused on lifestyle content.

Most of my followers are from Saudi Arabia, a country that has a growing interest in gamers and content creators as the market is so large.

– Unparalleled

Saudi gamers boost viewership

The UAE-based YouTube gamer is still in its early stages, but the Saudi esports market is projected to grow by 250% over the next eight years. Kayal said 90% of his viewers are from Saudi Arabia, with the rest coming from Oman, Kuwait and the UAE.

Mohammed Saud Al-Tamimi, president of Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission, recently said that 89% of the Saudi population are gamers. This is the highest per capita rate in the world,” Al Tamimi said at a forum in Riyadh.

By 2030, the gaming industry’s contribution to the kingdom’s gross domestic product will increase 50-fold.

How do gamers make money?

Manish Bakshi, Managing Director of BenQ Middle East and Turkey, said: the kind of games they play. ”

“But full-time gamers have several possible sources of income. Competitive gamers can make money by winning tournaments and competitions. The prize pools of major gaming tournaments can be very large. It’s possible, and some events offer millions of dollars in prizes.”

BenQ sponsors regional teams such as RA’AD and Geekay Esports, while Red Bull and others are known for sponsoring professional gamers.

“UAE companies are starting to understand the potential of the gaming industry and are starting to invest in it,” said Bakshi. “For example, his Dubai-based Geekay provides the community with gaming merchandise, accessories and events.

“Dubai Internet City Free Zone has also announced a $100 million fund to support the development of local game studios.”

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