EghtesadOnline: Iranian gamers spent 1.31 trillion rials ($5.24 million) on video games in the fiscal 2020-21, Iran’s Digital Games Research Center reported.
The center, affiliated with Iran Computer and Video Game Foundation, recently published a report on the status of domestic PC gamers by conducting public opinion surveys.
Of the money spent by Iranians on games, the share of locally-developed games was 210 billion rials ($480,000). In addition to games, Iranian gamers spent around 1.47 trillion rials ($5.88 million) on gaming hardware and spare parts in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2021). The survey says 91% of the purchases were made by male gamers.
The game industry is booming worldwide and different platforms are competing fiercely to win a bigger market share.
However, in Iran, computers and consoles are not the most popular platforms. The report says computer gamers constituted only around 20%, accounting for 6.5 million Iranian gamers in the year under study.
Based on the data, the number of computer gamers is on a downward trajectory as in 2018-19, there were only 7.2 million computer gamers in Iran, constituting 25% of the total number of gamers.
The small share might be because of Iran’s limited banking relations with the world and the gamers’ inability to make in-app purchases. In addition, American sanctions and economic pressures against Iran have pushed up the prices of computers and spare parts in the local market, making them a luxurious choice for gaming.
Providing more details, the report says that of the total 6.5 million computer gamers, only 16% use computers (personal computers and laptops) for gaming.
Furthermore, 62% of gamers use two platforms: mobile phones and PCs. A small number of gamers use a computer and console.
Playing games on all three platforms is popular among 22% of all gamers in Iran.
The survey shows that 21% of gamers did not miss a day for playing. Gamers spent an average of 56 minutes a day on gaming and 31% played online.
Sports, shooter and action/adventure games have been the three most popular genres in 2020-21.
The report also illustrates that 85% of gamers were male and female gamers comprised only 15% of the Iranian gaming community.
The largest group of gamers were in the 18-34 age-group. Children between 3 and 11 years old made up 27%, teenagers 14% and middle-aged gamers constituted 12%. Also, people over 55 years comprised 11% of gamers.
The foundation reports that 23% of gamers paid attention to the games’ age category and 27% did not bother.
Mobile Game Data
The 2020-21 report of Iran’s leading Android market Cafe Bazaar shows that the local Android game industry’s net income reached 690 billion rials ($2.76 million), marking a 47% increase year-on-year.
With more than 43 million users, Cafe Bazaar is Iran’s largest mobile app publisher. It publishes seasonal and annual reports on its website, Blog.cafebazaar.ir.
Based on the statistical report, more than six million purchases, including paid app downloads, in-app purchases and subscriptions, were conducted in the online market, indicating a 20% hike YOY.
The value of each transaction for game applications averaged 115,000 rials (46 cent). In addition, December 2020 and February 2021 registered the highest transaction traffic in the year.
A total of 127,000 applications were published on Café Bazaar, 18,000 of which were mobile games.
The report also carries diagrams showing that the total number of games published on the online service saw a 42% year-on-year fall. The number of game developer teams, however, seemed to increase by 32%, reaching 5,000.
Although only 30.2% of game developers are in Tehran, the city’s share of income reached 87.5%.
After Tehran, the provinces of Khorasan Razavi and Isfahan have the largest number of game developer teams with a respective share of 8.3% and 7.7%.
In terms of net income, Tehran is followed by Khorasan Razavi with 2.2%. The income value of game developers in all other provinces accounted for the remaining 10.3%.
Of the total number of 18,000 game apps, 36.6% were designed in Tehran, 10.6% in Khorasan Razavi and 9.6% in West Azarbaijan.
During the year under review, Café Bazaar attracted over 7 million new users, recording a 20% year-on-year growth in its install base.
The number of active gamers in Iran reached 29 million who downloaded and updated Android games over 670 million times, registering a 16% rise compared to a year before.
Strategic, family, recreational and action games respectively had the highest income growth during the year.
Statistics confirm conventional expectations that a majority of gamers (36%) are teenagers between the ages of 12 and 19.
Teenagers are followed by children under the age of 12, constituting 31% of players. The young generation between the ages of 20 and 34 accounts for 26% of the gamer population.
The numbers turn surprisingly interesting, as the age groups increase. Out of the 28 million gamers, 6% are between the ages of 35 and 59.
Finally, 1% of gamers, constituting 280,000 individuals of those over 60 years, showcases the universal nature of gaming.
Overall, the average age of a gamer is 19 years.
Iran’s share of games
According to the foundation, the games generally published on Café Bazaar are categorized into three groups: locally developed, foreign and those developed by international studios, which have been modified for the Iranian market.
Some local firms dub or subtitle videogames and publish them on platforms like Café Bazaar as locally modified.
The report noted that in 2020-21, of the 37,148 games published on Café Bazaar, only 28% of the games were locally made. Close to 58% of the games were made by foreign firms and 14% were classified as locally modified.
However, industry insiders say that with the increasing number of gamers in the country, domestic videogame companies are growing constantly.
In addition, Iran has over 150 game development companies, each of which employ 8 to 12 people while bigger enterprises average 30 employees.