How Promising is the Mobile Games Market in Southeast Asia?
In recent years the Southeast Asian games market has attracted attention of analysts, experts, and developers. In this article we’re going to tell you why.
Southeast Asia is a macroregion that encompasses continental and island areas between China, India, and Australia. It includes 11 countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia in the continental area, and Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines in the island area.
When analyzing the mobile games market, we usually consider the six countries that generate 97% of the revenue: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Market volume: 1.33 billion USD (Newzoo), 1.16 billion USD (Statista). Growth forecast: 45.3% (Newzoo). Singapore: max ARPU 78.15 USD (Newzoo), 77.40 USD (Statista). Vietnam: min ARPU 4.53 USD (Newzoo), 9.34 USD (Statista). Vietnam: min CPI 0.51 USD. Singapore: max CPI 2.14 USD.
When we analyze the information about these countries, it becomes evident that the market data on mobile games in Southeast Asia varies quite significantly from source to source. This applies to both the number of mobile game users and the profitability of the market.
This is how Statista ranks the countries of Southeast Asia:
And according to Newzoo:
You can find more information about our method for compiling the ranking here.
However, there is one thing these analyses agree on: the largest mobile games market is Indonesia. This region is dominated by Android. Most Indonesians go online from a smartphone and spend quite a lot of time on social networks.
The most popular game genres in these countries are strategy and RPG. The most popular games among mobile users in these countries include games from Asian (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) and European developers.
Distinguishing features of smartphone users in these countries
- The messenger BBM from Blackberry is widespread in Indonesia, Zalo is common in Vietnam, and Line is used extensively in Thailand.
- One of the official languages of Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines is English.
- The Philippines was named the world’s most socially-networked country in 2015.
- One of the reasons for constant outages of cable Internet in Malaysia is sharks, who frequently chew through fiber-optic cables running along the sea floor.
- It has been possible to transfer funds over Facebook and Twitter in Singapore since early 2017. Now all you have to do to pay is create an account on familiar social networks, link your bank account to it, and enter your ID when transferring funds.
- The Philippines has 2 official languages and 19 regional languages. It lags just behind India in this regard.
In addition to its fast growth rate, the mobile games market in Southeast Asia is attractive due to its relative ease of entry — the laws of these countries are not as strict as Chinese or South Korean. There are restrictions in Indonesia and Malaysia due to Islamic norms, but we know of no instances of violations of these norms leading to any kinds of sanctions against mobile developers. Moreover, in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore all you really need is English.
Here is a list of languages for localization and some information about them:
This is why Southeast Asia might be of interest to game developers:
- Fastest-growing regional market
- Active smartphone use by local population
- No significant legal barriers compared to other Asian markets
- Localization into 3–4 languages is enough to launch in all countries
- Games by Asian and European developers have equal chances of success
Allcorrect Group is eager to help you localize your application into the languages of these countries. We’d also be glad to answer your questions about launching in other markets.