Russia online gaming market booming, survey finds

    Russia’s online gaming market is booming and is likely to reach more than 60 million users by 2016, according to a study of European, African and Middle Eastern countries from German research organization yStats. The market grew by more than 20 percent last year, with MMOs making up the largest market segment, followed by social. Online gambling for cash is illegal in Russia and the government has been increasingly aggressive recently in closing down sites providing online gambling access to Russians. The study found the emerging markets were the fastest growing, outpacing Western Europe. In Europe, the U.K. led spending on digital game content, while Germany was top in terms of monthly revenue per paying user. In the U.K. about 20 percent of the population plays online games, with further potential seen in the trend to mobile devices, it said. In the Middle East, a quarter of Internet users in the UAE play or download video games or computer games online, almost double the number in 2010. In Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the most visited gaming websites have a monthly audience reach of over 10 percent of Internet users in those countries, it said. Online gaming revenues in South Africa are forecast to grow by a small-double digit percentage between 2013 and 2017, with mobile gaming outperforming pure online gaming.