Dubai: Gaming computers are growing in popularity in the UAE due to their affordability and the higher margins they generate for suppliers. Fouad R. Charakla, senior research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), said gaming PCs sales are expected to grow 25 per cent in the third quarter of this year to 7,500 units, compared to 6,000 units a year ago. “The gaming machines are selling well in the UAE. The gaming machines are priced higher than the regular PCs and the profitability is also higher,” he said. He, however, said profitability is facing downward pressure because of the growing competition in the gaming PC space, adding that more players are getting into the entry-level gaming PC segment to gain more market share. Paul Collins, general manager at Acer Middle East and Africa, said that there is a big shift towards gaming and ultra-thin laptops in the UAE, adding that the gaming sector is definitely growing. Mohammad Hilili, general manager for Lenovo Gulf, Saudi Arabia and East Africa, said that the company had launched Legion as a gaming laptop category. “After that, we have seen a tremendous increase in gaming laptops. We launched a 15-inch thin and light gaming laptop — [the] Legion Y530 — for mainstream gamers at Gitex Shopper,” he said. Collins said that gaming in Europe is growing at a rate of 84 per cent, and has witnessed substantial growth of about 40 per cent in the UAE and a little more in Saudi Arabia over the last year. Globally, he said that gaming product sales grew 61 per cent year-on-year, with desktop gaming holding a 38 per cent market share in the UAE. The ultra-thin portfolio’s annual sales grew by 45 per cent globally, with a 139 per cent sales increase in the UAE. “The hotspot is in converged gaming machines. These machines can be used as a regular laptop during the day in the working environment. They are thin and light and [have] a longer battery life. The biggest part of the gamers is not the 15- to 25-year-old males but it is the 25- to 45-year-old males and females. The fastest growing [segment] is [that of] female gamers,” he said. He said Acer has sold 10 units of its Predator 21X laptop in the UAE. The laptop, a higher-end product, retails at Dh37,000 a unit. For the full year, Charakla said that the market is expected to grow by more than 13 per cent to 26,000 units this year, compared to 23,000 units a year ago.