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Report: South East Asia is the world's fastest growing games market

Why some smaller territories might make more sense than China

When the games industry talks about Asian markets, it's generally short-hand for the well established territories of Japan and Korea or the already vast and rapidly burgeoning China. However, a new report from research firm Newzoo, produced in partnership with Casual Connect has indicated that, not only are there countries where gaming is growing more quickly, these territories could also prove to be more profitable.

In its Southeast Asia Games Market Report, Newzoo claims that the region is the world's fastest-growing gaming market, ripe for engagement from Western mobile and casual studios. Between them, Vietnam, Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia make up 99 per cent of the billion dollar revenues generated by Southeast Asian gaming in 2014 - but that figure is expected to more than double to $2.2 billion by 2017.

Largely, that growth is down to the rapid modernisation of the region, particularly the growth in internet users. Because these are territories which have lacked some of the infrastructure to provide extensive, stable wired internet, their economies are leapfrogging directly to mobile internet, much in the same way that India and South America's have. However, Newzoo's figures paint a picture in which the region's growth far outstrips other areas in similar positions, partly thanks to a sharper increase in local GDP.

"Southeast Asia's economic growth prospects, huge population, and fast-rising (mobile) internet connectivity essentially guarantee double-digit growth rates in terms of game spending for many years to come," reads an extract from the free summary of the report. "Southeast Asia is growing beyond other similar regions such as LATAM. Projections show 85 per cent of games industry growth by 2017 will come from Asia."

As well as the encouraging economic and infrastructural conditions, SEA also shares some common cultural ground with the West, factors which Newzoo believes should also contribute to healthy investment returns. As well as relatively high rates of English (up to 80 per cent in Singapore and 57 per cent in the the Philippines.) the region also shares similar tastes in social networks. Rather than favouring services such as Line, each of the region's big six countries shows extremely high rates of Facebook usage, alongside Twitter and Instagram, making targeted marketing and user acquisition much more straight forward. Already, more than half of the top 20 grossing mobile games in the area are from Western companies.

For a free, 12 page preview of the Southeast Asia Games Market Report, see our PDF here. Or, buy the full report, priced at $ 4,900.

Disclosure: receives a commission for referred sales of this Newzoo report.

Dan Pearson avatar

Dan Pearson