Online Gaming in Asia

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Asia has dominated the gaming industry for many years, with China leading the region. It was reported that, in 2019, China had the highest gaming revenue in the world, at over USD35 billion.

Mobile phones have become ubiquitous around the world, and Asia is no exception. This has led to the rise of mobile games, which are fast dominating the gaming industry, as they can be easily customized for local needs, enabling quick rollouts in diverse Asia. According to a recent GMO Research survey across 6 Asian countries, Android mobile devices are the most popular among gamers, with up to 78.6% in the Philippines naming this as their device of choice, followed by Thailand (75.2%), Vietnam (67.7%), Malaysia (65.4%), China (65.2%), and Taiwan (53.6%). When it comes to game consoles, with the exception of Taiwan, the PlayStation 4 (PS4) is the console of choice, led by Vietnam (66%) and followed by China (64%) and Malaysia (63%). In Taiwan, the Nintendo Wii (56%) has slightly edged out the PS4 as the most popular game console.

According to the survey, Action and Strategy games are the most popular among gamers, with the exception of Vietnam, where Sports games are preferred by nearly a third of gamers, and Thailand, where Massively Multiplayer Online games are preferred by 36%.

The majority of gamers in the region – over 40% – get  their gaming scoop from mobile applications on their smartphones or tablets. Most gaming enthusiasts in Vietnam (52.8%) and China (54.5%) prefer to turn to social networking services for news and information on games. Another important source is family and friends, led by Malaysia at 41.8%.

Companies are now experiencing record downloads of their games due to the coronavirus  pandemic.  Around  the world, numerous people are self-isolating or spending more time indoors, and they are turning to games for both entertainment and social interaction. Consequently, gaming companies are finding it easier to monetize their products.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the GMO Research survey showed that a staggering 92% of people in Vietnam had spent money on gaming. The next highest was China, with 68% indicating that they had made some expenditure on gaming, and Thailand was third with 54%.

Despite high smartphone penetration rates, mobile games are not all smooth sailing in this high-risk, high-return market. The lifetime of games is getting shorter, thereby increasing the pressure to generate profits in a short window of time. Developers need adequate funding and investment in order to pull through the initial stage where they may not see any profits. All in all, the gaming industry in Asia is in- credibly attractive to many and there is no shortage of new entrants vying for a piece of the pie – before, during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

By GMO Research