The mobile gaming market in Southeast Asia has been experiencing immense growth over the past few years, and is now seen as one of the biggest hotspots for digital entertainment. As of 2020, the global gaming industry is projected to reach $159.3 billion, a sizable increase compared to the $137.9 billion market size in 2019.
The massive growth of the gaming industry is also mirrored in Southeast Asia where countries like Thailand have seen a surge in mobile gaming revenue. This article will cover the important aspects of Southeast Asia’s white-hot mobile games market and discuss how the Thai growth slowdown will affect the overall market.
Overview of the mobile games market in Southeast Asia
The mobile games market in Southeast Asia is immersed in expansion and growth. As a result, this region is set to dominate the global games market and Southeast Asian nations are among the fastest-growing contributors to the mobile game industry worldwide.
Comprising 11 nations – Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and East Timor – Southeast Asia is a region filled with opportunities for game publishers. Home to over 668 million active gamers in 2020 alone, it’s no surprise that countries in this region are taking advantage of this growing digital entertainment industry.
This surge in mobile game adoption has largely been driven by increases in internet connectivity and smartphone users within Southeast Asia countries. With access now available across the entire region, competitive gaming tournaments such as SEA Games 2020 and PUBG Mobile Team Up 2020 have also seen a rise in popularity across the globe. Additionally, grants from organisations such as Google and various corporations have added to the sustainability of an already evolving market.
From traditional gaming platforms such as handheld console gaming and PC gaming to more recent ones like casual mobile gaming on smartphones or tablets – thanks to app stores like Google Play Store or Apple App Store -this emergent dynamic has made it easier for players from all around the world to find fun on their devices and access exciting new titles that can mostly be downloaded for free or at a nominal cost.
Factors driving the growth of the mobile games market in Southeast Asia
In a region that offers great potential for technology industry growth and development, the mobile games market in Southeast Asia is growing rapidly. Contributing factors to this growth include:
- An expanding consumer base.
- Increased access to high-speed internet.
- The rise of competitive app Platforms such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
The consumer base in Southeast Asia is relatively young with approximately half of its population below 34. This demographic has shown a great affinity for mobile gaming as it provides them with an affordable way to access different types of games from various genres, including puzzle solving and arcade style games. Additionally, the expansion of internet access over recent decades has led to greater connectivity between countries in this region and enabled people from various backgrounds to connect using technology. With faster connection speeds than ever before, consumers have better access to mobile gaming platforms such as Google Play Store or Apple App store – which have also been known for pre-installing apps on their devices for several countries in Southeast Asia to maximise profits. The reach of each platform is known to be especially high across developing nations such as Vietnam or Indonesia due their extensive network coverage run by mostly local providers.
Furthermore, increased competition between app stores has been key in driving the growth of mobile games within the region – either providing incentives such as free gaming credits or giving discounts on certain titles – thus driving more users on board towards game purchases across different demographics. Finally, heightened government support towards these platforms and subsidised distribution costs are often done through favourable tax regulations or marketing campaigns – thus making it easier for developers/publishers to launch their applications globally within these countries cheaply and quickly. Consequently, this raises awareness about particular titles – increasing their chances of success.
Market Size and Growth
The mobile games market in Southeast Asia is growing rapidly. According to a recent report from App Annie, the region’s total mobile gaming revenue grew by 56% year-on-year in 2019. Moreover, the number of mobile game users increased by an impressive 20%.
This growth is expected to continue in 2020 and beyond, as the region’s mobile gaming market continues to expand. In this article, we will look at the overall size of the mobile games market in Southeast Asia and the factors contributing to its growth.
Overview of the mobile games market size in Southeast Asia
The mobile gaming industry in Southeast Asia has grown exponentially in the past decade and is now one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. According to research, the regional gaming market was estimated to be worth US$10.2 billion as of 2019. The region’s growth rate is expected to exceed 20% year-on-year, while total revenue could grow by more than 37%.
The growth of mobile games has been driven largely by technological advances which have revolutionised game development and opened up far more opportunities for competition and innovation in terms of game design and platform delivery. In addition, games now require less time to develop due to their simplified user interfaces and art assets, resulting in many more releases into the market per annum. Currently, 2 million active users play at least once per week across all formats within Southeast Asia’s highly contested mobile gaming market — from hyper-casual to midcore titles — accounting for over 50% of all mobile games’ annual revenue within the region.
Additionally, an increasing number of South East Asians have also turned towards online casual multiplayer games such as MOBA and battle royale genres, which are quickly becoming some of the most sought after titles among gamers looking for action based gameplays with greater levels of complexity, depth and customization appeal that classic arcade titles just couldn’t provide. This trend is further compounded by rising average incomes across several countries in Southeast Asia that has allowed more people access premium features such as weapons upgrades or skins that can augment their experiences against other players thus leading to a consistent boost in revenue over time.
As a result, many leading developers now target these markets due to robust monetization models available which guarantees returns on investments made during initial stages of development incurring higher operational costs while enabling an minimised risk associated with unsuccessful launches due to its well versed safe end user environments device penetration capabilities.
Southeast Asia’s white-hot mobile games market to mirror Thai growth slowdown
The Southeast Asia mobile games market has seen significant growth in recent years due to various factors, including a large and increasingly connected population base and consumers’ willingness to spend on various types of media. Additionally, the proliferation of cheaper smartphones, plus the development of advanced 3G and 4G networks, have been instrumental in driving growth in this segment.
Some other factors contributing to the market growth are increasing investment by international publishers in localised titles; availability of content tailored to meet local tastes; rising spending on digital entertainment; competitive restrictions imposed by regulators; and favourable FDI policies promoting game investments from abroad. Moreover, as enterprises search for new monetization opportunities, more developers are transitioning to a free-to-play model offering various monetization options within their products.
Furthermore, new sub-segments like esports are gaining prominence due to government support and industry sponsorships. Popular online streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming have also enabled live streaming for revenue generation and world rankings across eSports tournaments. These developments and advancements in AI fuelled gaming technologies will open several opportunities for entrepreneurs over the coming years.
Analysis of the Mobile Games Market in Thailand
Thailand is one of the countries in Southeast Asia with a booming mobile games market. Recently, however, it has seen a slower growth rate than other SEA countries. Despite this, the market is still very much vibrant and developers have many opportunities to capitalise on.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the mobile games market in Thailand and analyse the factors contributing to its growth and potential areas of improvement.
Overview of the mobile games market in Thailand
Thailand is one of the fastest-growing mobile game markets in Southeast Asia. The country has seen a steady annual growth in revenue generated from mobile games since 2017, which is expected to continue until at least 2022.
The Thai mobile games market was estimated to be valued at USD 487 million in 2018, with user penetration reaching 75 percent. Mobile payments, specifically those made through the OTT platform (Over-The-Top), are a primary revenue generator for the Thai gaming industry. With 32 million active users and more than 5 million daily downloads per month reported in 2018, there is no doubt that Thailand continues to show huge potential for gaming firms that have invested and expanded into Southeast Asia with an eye on Thailand.
Other revenue sources include:
- In-app purchases (IAP).
- Virtual goods sales (VGS).
- Digitised advertising.
- Sponsored content deals and various marketing programs between game publishers and developers.
All of these sources contribute to the overall growth rate of Thailand’s mobile gaming market.
Technological advancements such as 5G are expected to further fuel growth. They offer better speed while enabling gamers to access high resolutions or run advanced games with higher volume than traditional 3G connections.
Factors driving the growth of the mobile games market in Thailand
The mobile game market in Thailand is expected to exceed $200 million in 2021, driven by increasing smartphone and internet penetration, availability of low-cost devices and improved 3G/4G network connectivity. Many factors contribute to the growth of the mobile game market in Thailand, such as:
1. Mobile device affordability: Mobile phones and tablets make it possible for even small budget gamers to enter the market. This increases player numbers and helps drive the growth of the mobile game market in the country.
2. High-speed network connection: Improved 3G/4G network speeds have enabled gamers to have a smooth gaming experience even in remote locations. This further drives up user engagement with games and boosts overall market growth.
3. Government initiatives for game development: The government is offering incentives for local developers focused on creating quality games for different platforms to expand the local scene. This move encourages more players from Thailand who are looking for engaging gaming experiences despite language barriers.
4. Growing global presence: With its presence across gaming platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows and other web-based services, Thai mobile games are gaining traction all over VR/AR and Steam too! The global presence has helped bring more players into the local economy, thus contributing greatly towards its success in Southeast Asia and globally.
The Southeast Asian mobile game market has continued to grow rapidly in recent years, with the major countries driving growth in the region.
Thailand, one of the major players in the region, has seen growth slow down a bit compared to the rest of Southeast Asia, but the market is still very hot.
Let’s take a close look at the market trends to get a better understanding of the situation.
Overview of the key trends in the mobile games market in Southeast Asia
The mobile games market in Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing in the world, with forecasts suggesting that this sector will be worth over $34 billion by 2023. The vast number of mobile gamers in countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, and an increase in internet access across the region has driven this rapid growth.
This demand for mobile gaming has seen key trends emerging across Southeast Asia, including:
1. Increased investment from major game developers: Major game developers are keen to take advantage of the burgeoning gaming industry in Asia, leading to increased venture capital investment and higher supplier margins than European and American competitors.
2. Genre development: Mobile gamers have become increasingly knowledgeable about different genres available on their devices. Game developers must avoid traditional genres like role-playing simulators and more strategic games such as turn-based strategy titles or MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas).
3. Emergence of eSports: The open nature of mobile platforms allows for greater flexibility when playing multiplayer games, making arranging tournaments or eSports events easier. This has resulted in a surge of interest in competitive gaming tournaments among gamers new to the genre and sparked a rise of professional players and teams competing for prize money.
4. Development towards free-to-play platforms: The payment model for most mobile games has been changing over time from pay-to-play towards freemium models with users able to download content but unlocking more features through additional purchases or subscription fees. This trend is particularly common among casual or puzzle titles that are heavily focused on increasing user engagement through social media integration or customer loyalty campaigns such as those used by Line Play or Garena’s Free Fire Battle Royale.
5. Increased influence from countries such as Japan & Korea: There is significant influence from Japanese & Korean developers due to their accessibility & adoption by Asian gamers looking for new experiences on their devices; with cross platform developments occurring more regularly between PC/consoles & smartphones/tablets leading to even larger profits across all development studios involved.
Analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mobile games market in Southeast Asia
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many markets, including Southeast Asia’s mobile games market. This is largely due to the economic slowdown in the region due to the pandemic. The degree of disruption varies across countries and markets.
In general, revenues in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia have fallen by around 15-20%, while Malaysia and Singapore have seen slightly higher 25-30% declines. Japanese mobile game revenues have also significantly dropped – usually around 40-50%.
However, the growth rate of mobile games in Southeast Asia remains strong despite these disruptions. Yearly growth rates are estimated to be up to 30%, with markets such as Thailand hitting 50% year on year growth for certain months. This is largely due to gamers having more free time at home during lockdowns or travel restrictions imposed by governments in some countries.
Overall, we can conclude that despite some disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mobile games market in Southeast Asia remains healthy and continues to grow steadily. This provides an opportunity for developers to capture a new pool of consumers who are looking for new entertainment options during this time.