Egypt suffers from many of the same challenges as other markets in the region.
One of the most prominent is piracy. Most Egyptian retailers sell illegal copies of console games in order to stay afloat, with past reports suggesting as much as 60 per cent of games sold in the region is bootlegged software.
But one local retailer offers a much higher estimate.
“The problem with video games in Egypt is not just the piracy,” says retailer GameSword’s founder Mohammed Hossam El Masry.
“It’s particularly bad for Xbox 360. The market is very lacking as more than 80 per cent of Xbox 360 owners in Egypt have a cracked console – unlike PS3, which is protected by continuous updates.
“The other problem is the high tax rates retailers here in Egypt pay, as well as the customs – especially on accessories and consoles. Those should have a higher profit margins, but that does not happen due to the high custom rates.”
High tax rates force games retailers to raise the price of genuine video games, but this clashes with the extremely low wagers of Egyptian consumers.
As a result, a significant number of gamers in the region get their fix by heading to one of Egypt’s dedicated gaming cafes.
The development scene is much quieter, with only a couple of studios still actively creating new games. These either focus on Arabic titles for Facebook or browsers, or co-operate with developers from other nations on larger projects.
The Egyptian Gaming Community, an organisation set up by the ITI Software Engineering and Gaming Center of Excellence, regularly holds conferences, workshops and GameJam competitions to encourage more interest in the industry.
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EGYPT: THE FACTS
Currency: Egyptian pound
GDP (Per Capita): $3,118
Capital City: Cairo
Key retailers and distributors
Al Alamia Electronics, Egyptian Gamers Association, Electrohap, Games4Egypt, GamePower, GameSword, Game Valley, PC Games World, Virgin Megastore, Windoza Gaming Center
Nezal Entertainment, Timeline Interactive