Southeast Asia has the fastest growing gaming industry in the world. In fact, the increased internet penetration and rising disposable income has given rise to the rapid development of mobile games — which will soon play host to a fierce battlefield.
However, the entire gaming market in Southeast Asia is dominated by foreign titles. This is due to the fact that most foreign gaming companies possess more successful experience of expansion and strong backup of capitals.
Thus, the harsh environment makes it hard for Southeast Asia’s gaming companies to compete and survive. In this article, the Tagtoo team has found three important takeaways after conducting in-depth research on the fate of the market and how local gaming companies can rise up to compete with foreign contenders.
Cater to what gamers really want
There is no one-size-fits-all game and creating titles that vaguely fit the majority’s interest can not guarantee success nowadays.
Each demographical segment has developed a unique preference for games and a myriad of different user behaviours.
For example, rather than targeting the entire male gamer population, gaming companies should segment the population into specific groups and create exclusive titles based on each group’s desires.
While gaming companies may instantly acquire large numbers of app instalments by launching titles appealing to the widest variety of gamers, little do they know that the users acquired are not loyal gamers but rather, regular users who are likely to delete it after a few days and jump onto the next, more exciting one.
Gaming companies should make games for real gamers.
It is a lot easier to get gamers to purchase games when they truly appeal to what they are longing for. Any titles targeting a broad audience, instead of a particular group of gamers, are less likely to survive.
Include the element of e-sports
The huge potential of e-sports has been recognised globally.
With its increasing popularity, gaming companies can regain their glory and create more momentum to fuel the growth that was once considered slow.
For example, take Free Fire, a mobile game developed independently by Garena in 2017. Free Fire was believed to be able to continue its growth momentum in Southeast Asia by featuring in Garena World 2019, a gaming tournaments event in Bangkok Thailand that attracted nearly 300 thousand attendees.
The quality of titles is the key to building up a successful e-sports. Gaming companies should stay focused on how to offer a gamer-friendly user interface, design a fair and bug-free competition, and create an easy-to-learn but hard-to-master gaming setting in titles.
In spite of the large investment in hosting offline events like e-sports, it remains one of the effective marketing approaches, in addition to digital advertising, to grow sales performance and increase the user base.
Develop the subscription model
How to effectively monetise titles has been a struggling and pressing issue for gaming companies.
Despite the growing population of gamers in Southeast Asia, excluding Singapore, the overall average revenue per user (ARPU) is not satisfactory enough.
Indonesia, according to Newzoo, has the second lowest ARPU, US$8.28. For Indonesia’s gaming industry, there is a long way to go to reach the same level of market maturity as Singapore, US$78.15.
With that said, Southeast Asia will see more subscription-based content mushrooming up.
As Netflix and Spotify swiftly and successfully hold their strong foothold in this region, the subscription model will be gradually accepted. More Southeast Asians will soon be willing to pay a small amount in exchange for better quality content services. And, the gaming industry is no exception.
The recurrent revenues derived from subscriptions could help gaming companies acquire a more predictable revenue flow. This way, it not only significantly lowers the risks of launching and publishing titles but also greatly enables gaming companies to focus more on product development and less on the quality of titles.
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