Did you know that out of 79M people in Iran, there are 23M gamers in the country? or did you know Iran’s game industry had 153 million dollars revenue in 2015 and it’s increasing each year? I guess not.
With half of the population under 30 years old, increased internet and smartphone penetration, it’s no surprise that Iran has so many gamers in the country. “Digital games, in both aspects of effectiveness and popularity, could be considered one of the three most prominent media of the 21st century. A medium that has far passed the limits of the realm of entertainment and is now a pioneer of other media industries. The word “entertainment” can no longer describe digital gaming, as digital games have made their way into and changed the culture, education and art. It is predicted that in a not so far future, digital games will drastically change concepts such as advertisement, research and communication. A medium like this deserves a great deal of strategic attention,” said Seyed Seyed Hosseini, CEO of DIREC.
Digital games research center (DIREC), as a spin-off company of Iran Computer Games Foundation, was founded in 2015 in order to make room for research cores consisting of graduates of the best national universities as well as specialists and experts in various areas related to the digital games industry.
In their recent report which we covered partially in articles 153 Million Dollars Revenue from Digital Games in Iran and 23 Million Gamers in Iran – 37% Women, a good insight on the digital gaming landscape of Iran was given. The data of this report has been collected by the effort of more than 100 researchers in metropolitan, city and rural areas across the country. A sample size of 15000 people were surveyed for this purpose.
Without further due let’s get to the to report:
Gamers, Devices, Gender, Age and more
The mosy important figures that grab your attention in this section are the number of gamers in Iran which is 23 million people. This number shows the huge opportunity that awaits domestic and international companies to rush in and tap this untapped market. Out of this number, 53% of them are daily active users which translates to 12.2 million daily active gamers. Another important fact in this report is that most of the gamers are using their mobile devices such as their smartphones or tablets to play games, which shows how much potential mobile devices have in this sector. Talking about the gender, 63% of the gamers in Iran are male and 37% of them are female, these figures are nearly close to American market which are 59% male and 41% female.
Iran has a young population to the point that the average age of the gamers in the country is 21 years old whereas the average age of the gamers in the U.S. is 35 years old. This young generation can have a long lifespan in the game industry. To compare the gamers’ age more accurately, it’s enough to say that 27% of the gamers in the U.S. are under 18 years old according to the 2016 ESA report, but in Iran 58% of them are under 19 years old. Another important factor in comparison to the U.S. market is that 63% of the U.S. households are home to at least one person who plays video games regularly but in Iran, we have one gamer in each household who plays video games regularly. Interestingly, in Iran 80% of the households own at least one device to play video games but in U.S this number is 65%.
Where, When And With Whom They Play?
How hardcore are the Iranian game players? It’s only enough to say that in the U.S. the most frequent gamers who play multiplayer and online games spend an average of 6.5 hours per week playing with others online and 4.6 hours per week playing with others in-person. We don’t have the exact parameter in this report but according to this report, daily average time spent by the players (in general and not the most frequent ones) is 79 minutes per day which is 9.2 hours per week. 69% of the gamers also have access to the internet and since 77% of them have used smartphones to play, we can say that they are more than ready for MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). And the obvious example of that is Clash of Clans the game which Iranians have spent 44 million dollars on up until 2015 (We would have another full depth article on this subject with in details statistics based on the DIREC’s report).
Rating, Genre And ESRA Rating
ESRA which stands for The Entertainment Software Rating Association (ESRA) is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings in Iran. The system was established in 2007 by Iran National Foundation of Computer Games. ESRA, which is the result of a one-year investigation and research on different harmful content of computer games from three aspects of sociology, psychology, and Islamic teachings, launched its rating system in 2009 in five categories of 3+, 7+, 12+, 15+ and 18+ years of age. It’s equivlant to the American system ESRB. Apart from the game ratings you can also see the top 5 game genres in the country.
Who’s Spending Where?
Talking about Iran’s digital game revenue, it’s only 153 million dollars, but again we have many indicators that this market is going to get bigger in the upcoming years. The internet penetration in the past two years got improved massively and it’s getting better each day. The smartphone penetration is also huge, there are 40M smartphones in the country according to some reports.
Comparing the gaming industry in Iran and the U.S., we can see that the average age of the most frequent game purchaser in U.S. is 38 whereas in Iran is 25 years old. In Iran, only 30% of gamers pay for digital games but considering the inefficient online payment methods, it’s still a huge number. It’s foreseeable to see this number would rise with the help of online payment companies rushing in since the past couple of months. And the last important fact is that 65% of the digital games’ revenue comes from the mobile games.
Overall we have high expectations of Iran’s game industry in the years to come. Many international games such as Clash of Clans had a great experience in Iran’s market and we hope to see more of them as U.S. sanctions loosen up. And Yes, there is the new president Donald Trump but we tend to see the best in people, although there might be nothing there to see.
Please drop your comments in the section below, we are eager to know your opinions about the topics that we discussed.