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How to Shop for Video Games in Jeddah

Tamim Kashgari and Ahmed Jadaa are two people who take their gaming seriously. After spending a decade outside the Kingdom, Tamim returned to an unfamiliar gaming market. He tried asking around and searching online, but says that he found the information “superficial at best”.

To rectify this situation, Tamim and Ahmed began The Mouse and Controller, a blog dedicated to their love of gaming in 2012. The duo have teamed up to write this guest post, exclusively for Jeddah Blog, to give our readers the low-down on the gaming market in Jeddah. They answer crucial questions such as, who are the best and the worst retail outlets for video games? and are there any used games stores in Jeddah?

Read on to discover their top tips on how we can get the best deals on our games, and their secret to escaping the high prices and poor customer service so rampant in the Jeddah gaming market.

So you have your eye on the latest release and you’re wondering where to buy it from. Let’s take a close look at all the video game retailers in Jeddah and give them scores based on a tier system. The grid we have formulated scores the stores on a scale of 1 to 10 and is based on the following factors:

  • Convenience of store location (how many stores do they have and where are they located?)
  • Size of inventory (do they have a wide variety of games?)
  • Relevance of inventory (do they have the latest games?)
  • Customer service (attitude and knowledge of sales staff)
  • Prices (are they overly priced or reasonable?)

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 10.07.45 AM

Let’s discuss each of these stores in detail:

S-Tier: Tokyo Games alone at the top

With a total score of 36, Tokyo Games is pretty much sitting pretty with a fairly large gap.

Mediocre customer service and high pricing, with games at around SR 250 each, is pretty normal in Saudi Arabia as a whole and Tokyo Games is no exception. The sales representatives are a tad more informed at Tokyo Games, but they are by no means helpful. The big glaring flaw at Tokyo Games is the fact that they sell no PC games at all, or any accessories that a PC game can actually use. They are entirely a console-focused business. 

However, looking beyond those flaws, Tokyo Games is the most successful retail company that sells video games in Jeddah. The fact that they are the most widespread company in the city with almost a dozen outlets means that you are never that far away from a store. However, not all branches are created equal. There is a clear lack of quality maintenance across all stores with the ones in the more high profile locations having better maintained stock.

Tokyo Games focuses on the sale of video games which means that their inventory is usually fully stocked. You can be assured that when it comes to video game systems and their games, if an item isn’t at Tokyo Games it most probably won’t be found anywhere else. You can even order a specific game that may be out of stock via their website and pick it up at one of their outlets which is a unique feature among all retailers in Jeddah. They are also beginning to sell licensed collectibles and models, branching out into a more holistic geek store.

A-Tier: Jarir winning the battle for second place

Jarir is also a long-standing retailer in Saudi Arabia, much like Tokyo Games. The difference between them, however,  is that Jarir is more of a general store selling all manner of school supplies, books, board games, electronics and electronic accessories in addition to video games. Due to their longevity and success in the market, Jarir has many locations within Jeddah.

Due to Jarir’s nature as a general stationery store, they aren’t always up to date when it comes to getting hold of the latest games. The games do seep in eventually as they are one of the biggest retailers in the country, and no distributor will exclude them. They are better stocked when it comes to hardware. Controller accessories, extra wires, etc are easier to find in Jarir compared to other stores.

PC gaming isn’t ignored in Jarir as it is in Tokyo games, so it’s a more holistic experience when it comes to video game shopping.

Unfortunately, and quite typical in KSA, the sales experience and pricing is mediocre. Their sales representatives are neither interested in selling games, nor as informed as a Tokyo Games representative would be.

B-Tier: An Oldie, that is still something of a Goldie, Eagle Games

Now, while nostalgia might be a reason that Eagle Games ended up placing this high. There are some pretty factual realities that ensure the place it holds is deserved. Lets start off with the bad to get it out of the way.

Eagle games is the smallest of these retailers with just a single store in Rawdah, and its not very fancy. Its stock is also quite small. But, what it has going for it is that its stock is relevant even if it does take a little longer to restock if something sells out. Also they sell games at the lowest price of any video game retailer in Jeddah, averaging a price that is at least 40 riyals less on any game.

Eagle games is the only retailer that accepts used games and buys them back from the consumer for a trade in. This alone makes the store a really attractive place to visit if you’re looking to get rid of old games.

C-Tier: Everyone Else

Extra, Computer House and Virgin Megastore occupy the third tier. Extra is primarily an electronics and appliance store with video games being a secondary priority. However, they do have dedicated sections for consoles. Virgin is more of a cultural store selling smaller electronics, novelty items, books and some clothes, along with video games. Computer House is the only store in this group which is a dedicated video game retailer. None of these stores stock new games and Virgin doesn’t stock gaming hardware.

All of them share the uniform subpar customer sales experience and pricing with games almost always being priced at SR 250 regardless of their release date. A game I recently saw at Virgin released back in 2013 was still retailing at full price.

D-Tier: Oh wait, we almost forgot one!

Bringing up the rear, we’ve got Sony World in a league of their own. While Sony World does have three stores in Jeddah, that is about all they have going for them.  Their sales experience and pricing like everyone else, is aggressively mediocre at best.

Sony World’s biggest disadvantage is that they sell only Sony products and goods. The Playstation consoles and games in the shop make it the most limited inventory in the entire market. Since they have no exclusive rights to selling Playstation goods, it makes it pretty meaningless to go here when you go video game shopping.

E-Tier: The jokes, hovels and places you really shouldn’t be going

This bunch of stores is really the bottom of the pile. Outlets such as Mickey Games and X Games have not only outdated designs, but also five year old games. These places can barely be considered real stores. The only reason they do exist is because there aren’t many copyright regulations here that are enforced, so they basically sell pirated material.

Retail can't compete with this.

Retail can’t compete with this.

Is this good news for the Consumer?

With a complete absence of marketing efforts, there are massive opportunities for video game retail stores to leverage their positions. Currently, both retailers and consumers are losing out.

For example, none of these stores make much of an effort to clear their inventory once new stock comes in. On the rare occasion when they do decide to hold a clearance sale, customers are the last to know. I once walked into Tokyo Games shop to be told that it was the final day of their summer sale with games selling at 75% discount. It’s good they are doing this, but with the lack of any kind of effective communication the consumer will only find out about the sale if they are lucky.

Sales are not only for the benefit of the consumer. It is important to move old stock as it gives a bad impression to see outdated games on the shelf at full price or even at a higher price than newly-released games.

Buyers can take advantage of these lazy marketers though. As there is no competitor monitoring between any of these companies you can see some hilarious price disparity regarding some games. When I went to buy Dead Rising 2 I found it retailing for around SR 200-250 at major stores. Walking into Sony World I found the same game being sold for SR 50!

Most games seem to be priced randomly, so for the more thrifty gamer with time on her hands this means that a substantial amount of money can be saved through scanning prices at the stores before buying.

Coming to some of the more underhand tactics of retail stores in Jeddah, price gouging is quite rampant as there is no real consumer protection in Saudi Arabia. The release of Metal Gear V: Phantom Pain is a great example with Tokyo Games selling copies for as much as SR 450 – nearly double the already high average price.

Used games are ignored by almost all retailers even though they can be a huge part of the business plan of any video game retailer as it is a revenue stream with almost no cost to them generating repeated profits as games can be bought and returned multiple times. GameStop in the US is a great example of this generating nearly 50% of its total revenue from used game sales.

Used games, trade ins and customer loyalty programs. Things that no retailer in Jeddah does.

Used games, trade ins and customer loyalty programs. Things that no retailer in Jeddah does.

The Best Option for Gamers

What with outdated stock, high pricing and poor customer service, is there no way out? What can enthusiastic gamers do to get their latest fix?

Gone are the days of Playstation 1 and 2 when there would be lines outside your local Tokyo Games and Computer House asking for the latest Final Fantasy or the newest Resident Evil. With increased internet speeds, acceptance of the use of credit cards and the wider availability of the cash cards that can be purchased and used in online stores, none of us are forced to have to deal with these substandard retailers.

For those who are willing to make the shift, online stores and services are the future, and they are run to a global standard by all major companies like Microsoft (Xbox Marketplace), Sony (PSN), Nintendo (eShop), Valve (Steam), EA (Origin), Ubisoft (Uplay). They offer regular and massive discounts and their customer service is significantly better and more informed than anything that is locally present in the market. It is ironic that not only are local stores being undercut by the very same people that supply their products, but they are sounding their own death knell by selling the same cash cards to be used in these online stores.

You can follow the authors on Twitter as follows:

Tamim Kashgari: @tamimlane

Ahmed Jadaa: @AhmedJadaa.

Ride for Free with icflix and Uber

icflix and Uber promotionicflix and Uber have teamed up to offer their customers a great new promotion. icflix, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading Internet streaming service are rewarding first time subscribers by offering them a premium ride with Uber, the smartphone technology company that links riders to drivers within minutes, when they sign up to

The promotional offer launched just this week will entitle customers to 81.73 SAR off their first ride and will be valid until July 25th 2015.

If you are a new Uber customer ordering your first ride using the Uber app, don’t fret. You can get a one-month icflix subscription for free.

Speaking about this great promotional offer, Carlos Tibi, founder and CEO says, “We like to think outside the box, and are always thinking of innovative ways to reward our customers. New Uber customers will have the chance to experience the service with the added benefit of enjoying movies and TV shows whilst on the move.”

“Technology and innovation sit at the heart of what we do, and something we very much have in common with icflix, especially when it comes to enhancing customer experience,” said Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager for Middle East & Africa.

How Can I Access This Offer?

In case you wish to access this offer the following code must be entered while ordering:

UBERUAE  for the UAE


UBERBAH for Bahrain

UBERLEB for Lebanon

UBERQAT for Qatar.

Enter this code when you sign up to icflix. If you are already a member, simply go to “Your account”, “Manage Subscription” and enter your promo code.

Sponsored article

Top Facts to Consider Before Buying A Car Online In Saudi Arabia

Readers, we’re back after a great summer break. I’m hoping you all are well-rested with lots of energy to face the joys and challenges of the rest of the year.

Increasingly, all kinds of shopping is now being done online, from groceries to books and even fast food. Did you know that shopping for a car has also caught on via the web? To shed more light on this, we’ve asked Mr. Fathy Abdelmonam who has a keen interest in the online cars market to give us his top tips on purchasing a car online. If you have any questions for Mr. Abdelmonam, leave a comment at the end of this blog post.

buy a new car in Saudi Arabia


Most car buyers worldwide prefer to buy cars offline from the traditional car markets. However, there are a good number of buyers that are now switching to buy or sell cars and vehicles online allowing them to get a better response, beneficial offers and great deals. The advantage that online car deals have over the traditional offline car markets is that it provides the buyer with the opportunity to look up many car deals at the same time with a few simple clicks rather than going through individual offline deals that take up a lot of time. However, there are a few things you need to consider when you’re looking online for the right car that suits you the most in Saudi Arabia.

Site Reputation

The first and the most important thing you need to take into consideration when buying a car online is the reputation and quality of the site that you’re using, as it should be a trusted website that offers you the right deals without any kind of fraud or hidden costs that you will be obliged to pay later. For instance, Carmudi that operates in Saudi Arabia and all of its services are free of charge and J. Motors that operates in Jordan.

Variety and diversity

Whenever you decide to give the online car marketplace a try, you have to pick the one that offers you a better variety of cars and wide range of brands like Toyota, Honda, Audi, BMW and many others. When looking out for the right deal that will match your needs such as; the model, the price and many other factors.

Customer Service

When you’re looking for your dream car online, you have to pick the website that offers a high quality level of customer support as you might need their assistance if you’re dealing with the site for the first time. It can also help your questions to be answered on time and to complete your car buying deal without any problems.

How to Save Cash: Qitaf Rewards for Prepaid Mobile Phone Cards

Do you feel like you are always running out of credit in your mobile phone? Do you wish you could have more value for money? If so, for those who are new to Jeddah, or even those who were unaware of the most popular mobile prepaid card points scheme, Jeddah Blog brings you this quick and easy guide to setting up your Qitaf points scheme and begin claiming free credit.

What is Qitaf?

Qitaf is a rewards program that enables SAWA and LANA customers to collect points and receive multiple benefits, such as extra free credit on their phone.

Read more…

Poor Customer Service

Unfortunately, if you’ve lived in Jeddah for even a little while, you are sure to have accumulated enough anecdotes about poor customer service you’ve received to be able to write a small book. Here are two examples I encountered only this week:

Marks and Spencers have a sale on these days. Now, what usually happens with them is you pick an item off the stands, which may have been reduced from say SR100 to SR80. When you get the item scanned, the actual after-sale price is SR45. So, although you lament the poor staff skills, and even wonder about how many more sales they could have made at their real price, you still come away with a last-minute buzz, feeling quite elated at the even lower price of goods you bought.

However, when I went to their store last week at the Mall of Arabia, I picked up an item which had a tag on it saying, ‘SALE SR20 only’. When I took it to the cashier, he said that the item was actually SR65 and sorry, he couldn’t give it to us for SR20. It ended up as not only a complete waste of time for us (we didn’t bother going through their racks all over again, we simply bought our stuff from another store), but they lost a loyal customer due to their poor management.

My second example for today is Domino’s Pizza, which has a Buy-1-Get-1-Free offer every Monday. However, whenever we try to call on a Monday their phone is either busy, or unattended. If we ever manage to get through due to some stroke of luck, we are told that they will deliver after 2 hours because they have ‘too many orders’. I wonder if the management would like to explain to their staff what the actual purpose of the Buy-1-Get-1-Free deal is, because they seem to be promoting nothing but poor customer service and a bad image on Mondays.
What I am really interested to know is, how far sales have increased for Pizza Hut and other fast food/ delivery restaurants on Mondays since people who cannot get through to Dominos end up ordering some place else. So Dominos spends the money on advertising and promotion (since their pizzas are half price) yet it’s their rival eateries that are gaining from the promotion.

Poor Customer Service
If you’d like to rant about poor customer service you’ve received recently in Jeddah, then post a comment and let us know !

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