Southeast Asia’s mobile gaming revenues could exceed $7 billion by 2019, according to market researcher Frost & Sullivan.
The analysis from the company shows that Southeast Asia revenues hit $1 billion in 2014, and it will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 48 percent from 2015 to 2019. That means the region — home to more than 600 million people — will grow much faster than other mature regions in the world.
Singapore and Malaysia are seeing fast growth, helping to make the region the fastest growing in the world, driven by a rapid increase in new broadband users and first-time smart-device users. Social media usage growth is also helping the region grow its gaming base. But the least-developed markets such as Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar are still in the nascent growth phase.
Frost & Sullivan said that smartphone and tablet usage will become mainstream by 2019. More than 50 percent of Thailand’s population uses a smartphone. While tablet gaming is small, the average revenue per user for tablets is 4.2 times that of smartphones in the region.
Android is by far the dominant mobile operating system in the region and will stay so for a long time to come due to its affordability and the high popularity of Chinese low-end smartphones in developing markets, Frost & Sullivan said. This creates a challenge for game developers in terms of which version of Android to support.
Only 6 percent of global Indonesian Google Play users are using Android 2.3. However Android as a platform is becoming less fragmented, and this will eventually become less of a burden for developers.
Payment is still a big problem. Credit card usage is extremely low, and prepaid distribution for Apple and Google vouchers is still not available in most countries in the region. E-payment solutions such as Bitcoin are becoming increasingly popular.
Mobile chat apps such as Line are very popular, and Line is especially popular in the Thai market. Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines are still mostly using Whatsapp, while many Indonesians still use BBM with legacy Blackberry service. Vietnam has its own home-grown chat app, Zalo. Chat apps have become a big tool for spreading word about a game.
Social media such as Facebook has also become extremely important in Southeast Asia in spreading the word about games. For the most part, Southeast Asian players are playing the game games that are popular in the West. That includes Supercell’s Clash of Clans and Line’s Let’s get Rich.