What It’s Like to Be a Gamer in a Third World Country


With a value of  $94 billion, there is no denying how much gaming has advanced in the last decade.

For millions of people gaming has become a primary pillar of entertainment and with time more and more people will be added to this group. But have you ever wondered what gaming is like in the third world?

As someone who lives in Pakistan, I wanted to tell you the struggles and issues that gamers face in the third world (not to guilt you or anything like that, but because I think it’s an interesting topic).

Load shedding

Load SheddingLoad Shedding refers to the power cuts at specific times of the day at a regular interval.

This is very common in Pakistan where on average you won’t have electricity for at least eight hours every day. In some areas it becomes 12 hours or a power cut every hour for one hour.

Because of this, the time you have to play a round of DOTA 2 or some other game is rather limited. As a result, management of time is necessary.

You need to divide the your time to make sure everything that needs electricity like research, studies at night, etc are done first which often means not playing games for some days.

Conditions have improved recently, but still, 4-5 hours is not good.


game piracyIf you buy a physical copy of a game in Pakistan,  chances are that copy will most likely be pirated. Piracy is fairly common in Pakistan and to not buy pirated games will give you the odd look from gamers here.

There are a number of reasons for this. For one, an original copy of  a game costs more than 6000 – 7000  rupees (≈$93 – $108 USD), while a pirated version of the same game costs just 100 rupees (≈$1.50 USD). When people are given a discount like that, everyone will consider it.

That doesn’t mean everyone does it knowingly, however. I know some people who had no clue that they were pirated and why would they? Original game copies are often quite hard to find, so most retailers simply don’t have original copies of games.

We also have truly terrible internet, so downloading games from Steam is impossible for many and will result in the breaking of many pens.

Why pens? Because no one has the money to replace a TV, but like…who does?

At this point I must have broken around 739 pens because of the terrible internet.

And speaking of terrible internet…

Horrible Internet

To give you some context on how bad the internet is here, the average available internet package in the entire country downloads a 5 GB game in est. 6 hours, if not more.

Couple that with frequent power cuts (not to mention the 2-3 day power cuts from our awesome government) and you can guess why we have extremism in this country.

I personally have the fastest internet in the country because some fiber optic cables run through my house, but that is still slow compared to the west.


Gaming is still considered a weird thing to do by many people in Pakistan.

If you’re someone who loves video games like me you will be most likely be labelled lazy, a child, a loser, and a terrible student even though I TOPPED MY FRICKING CLASS 12 YEARS IN A ROW ASGHAR!!!!!  YOU SON OF A…

So, not much a different from the west (sort of).

This notion has died down in recent and gaming has generally become more accepted, but it’s still annoying.

Few People Play New Games

If you remember, I mentioned above how our internet is terrible and few people can download new games.

Because of this the great majority of gamers in Pakistan will have games like Street Fighter 2GTA: Sand Andreas, or some 16 bit games running on an emulator through their PCs instead of newer games.

Some people might not even know sequels to older games have come out.

For example: yesterday I took my FSC exam, and on the way home I was talking with one of my colleagues. He turned to me and asked, “Dude have you played the new Call of Duty 4?”

..I mean it’s a great game, but it came out almost a decade ago. Hardly a new game.

Original Consoles are Expensive!!

In Pakistan, the great majority of gamers will play their games on PC. Not because they want to be associated with the #PCMasterRace necessarily, but because consoles are crazy expensive.

8th gen consolesThe PS4, for example, costs twice the amount in Pakistan than in the US (≈$700 USD).

This is probably due to the import tariffs in place and lack of local manufacturing. Also, here most people play on older consoles like the NES or Xbox 360.

Why Still Play Video Games

blue question markAfter reading all this, I would not be surprised if you ask, “Why do you still play video games?”

The  answer is pretty simple, because I love it.

Sure Pakistan is not the most ideal place for video games, but I am still ready to tolerate all these issues in order to enjoy my hobby and find fun in this depressing, yet amazing country.

Thankfully, the situation is improving. Net speeds are rising, load shedding is at an all time low, and generally the country is showing remarkably improvement.

Slowly but surely these issues will end, and by now I am used to all these issues so much that they don’t effect me all that much.

Even if every issue I mentioned above was doubled in effect, I would still play video games .

No matter how bad the situation gets, the passion of many 3rd world gamers won’t die out, and that shows you how addicting games truly are.


  1. Wow. Power cuts and terrible internet… and yet people complain about social justice warriors ruining their lives by putting transgender NPCs in role-playing games. Talk about first world problems. We really don’t appreciate how fortunate we are. Thanks for the insight, Abdul. Kind of makes you think about things differently.

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