Southeast Asia’s PC online and mobile game revenue is projected to reach $2.2 billion by the end of 2017, and it could rise to $4.4 billion by 2021, according to a new report by market researcher Niko Partners.
This year’s forecast is higher than in the past, mainly on the strength of esports and new hit international games entering the Southeast Asia market. The numbers make Southeast Asia the world’s fastest-growing region for all online games revenue (PC and mobile).
Niko said that the number of PC online and mobile gamers in Southeast Asia is projected to rise from 300 million by the end of 2017 to more than 400 million by 2021.
Mobile game revenue is expected to surpass PC game revenue in 2018. But that doesn’t mean that the two categories are at odds with each other. Rather, Niko said that mobile games revenue is additive, not cannibalizing, when it comes to PC games usage.
Mobile games distribution is different in Southeast Asia than in the West, where Apple and Google’s app stores rule. In Southeast Asia, gamers download directly from game makers and local third-party Android markets. Global developers cannot rely solely on data analytics to understand the real story in the local markets but rather must research the reality for their games, Niko said.
Garena, now known as Sea Limited, went public on October 20, raising $884 million in an initial public offering for its PC and mobile games operation and distribution. Niko disclosed that Garena has hired Niko to do work for it.
“Esports has had a huge impact on the Southeast Asia region, and is the primary driver for the explosive growth in PC online games. The heavy growth of the MOBA genre is a major contributor to mobile esports as well,” said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners.
Niko surveyed more than 1,400 gamers as well as executives at major Southeast Asian companies for the report.