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Southeast Asia’s game market is on a growth spurt. The region’s PC online and mobile game revenue is expected to grow more than double to $3.3 billion by 2020, according to a report by market researcher Niko Partners.

And mobile game usage and revenue are expected to overtake PC online games by 2018. The 124-slide report looked at the Southeast Asian countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The report says that Southeast Asia’s mobile games revenue will rise by a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent from $587 million in 2015 to $1.8 billion in 2020. The PC online game market is growing more slowly at about a 10 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate), said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners, in an interview with GamesBeat.

“The primary driver of demand for PC online games in Southeast Asia is esports, and the primary driver of demand for mobile games is the appetite for a wide selection of lower cost digital entertainment,” said Cosmas Hanson. “Gamers in many of the Southeast Asian countries that we track are restricted by lower disposable income, and that makes local parity pricing important for foreign game developers to acquire greater numbers of users who can afford to play their games, hence ultimately generating higher overall revenue.”


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The report also says more gamers in Thailand are hardcore players, with play times exceeding 21 hours per week, compared to other Southeast Asian countries that are more casual.

Niko says that Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam are the ones to watch for the highest revenue and growth. Cosmas Hanson said that advertising revenue is bigger in the region in part because disposable income is lower and people make fewer purchases.

For the region as a whole, the massively multiplayer online role-playing games are now just 20 percent of overall PC online games revenue. In the past, that percentage was higher.

Southeast Asia represents about 6.5 percent of Valve’s global Steam gamers. Two of the most popular games are Dota 2 and Riot’s League of Legends. Others include Hearthstone, Overwatch, Pokémon Go, Supercell games such as Clash Royale, FIFA online, and others. The indie title Machinarium is in the top ten most-popular lists in multiple countries.

Niko did an online survey of 1,500 gamers and interviews with executives at Southeast Asian online game companies, payment companies, and mobile game developers.

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