Art And Culture

Status of Video Games in Iran

Status of Video Games in Iran
Status of Video Games in Iran

Video games are one of the most influential means of conveying various concepts to children and young adults, says Hassan Karimi-Quddusi, managing director of Iran Computer and Video Games Foundation.

“Developed countries, realizing the importance of the games, have tried to transfer their thoughts, policies and lifestyle indirectly through video games since a long time,” Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.

Karimi-Quddusi says, “We cannot assume video games simply as childish games with no impact on children.”

Unfortunately, many families in Iran are not familiar with the age rating of video games. “That is why we established ‘ESRA’, the Entertainment Software Rating Association, as a video game age rating system, like other countries, that assigns age and content rating for local users.”

 Growing Market

Iran with more than 38 million internet users and 20 million gamers is the largest growing video games market in the Middle East. Iranian companies in recent years have improvised the industry and produced a number of high-tech games which have succeeded in the local market and are gradually trying to penetrate global markets.

With the emergence of smart phones and their growth in recent years, mobile games have also found a firm position among users.

According to, a recent survey, sampling 837 mobile gamers in Iran, has provided some useful insights to developers and publishers interested in the Iranian mobile games market, whose revenue in 2015 is estimated at $39 million based on the Dutch global leader in games market research Newzoo, in its latest country report.

Assuming the mobile share of total video games revenue ($194 million) is about 20%, it is markedly lower than the global mobile average of 30-35%.

Based on the same calculations, it is expected that mobile games revenue will grow to $44 million in 2016. To put this into perspective, add an extra $100 million to these figures and you have the annual mobile games revenue of Turkey, a neighboring country with the same population size. Iran is lagging 3-4 times.

 Young Gamers

Over 55% of Iran’s 80 million population is under 30 years of age, so it is not surprising that 67% of mobile gamers are under 24. Iran also has one of the highest education-to-population ratios in the world, small wonder that 63% of the gamers are students.

Almost 80% are single, about half (47%) reported a household income of less than $570 per month and 78% said they primarily play games in English as developers have not localized them in Farsi.

One in five (19%) pay for in-app purchases each month, which is mostly through scratch and gift cards. The remaining transactions happen on third-party app stores that are integrated to local payment methods.

In terms of general usage, 67% play mobile games several times a day, 19% play for at least three hours and 34% play for 1-3 hours.