Malaysians lead South-East Asia in digital games spending

There’s a healthy games development scene here, according to a research firm

By D KANYAKUMARI / Pic By BLOOMBERG & TMR File

Malaysian gamers generated US$589.4 million (RM2.45 billion) in revenue for the gaming industry this year, the most compared to other countries in South-East Asia.

Research firm Newzoo’s gaming market consultant, Tom Wijman, told The Malaysian Reserve that hardcore Malaysian gamers have been the driving force to the rising gaming industry — which includes programmers and game developers.

“Because PC (personal computer) gaming is typically seen as an activity for ‘core’ gamers, that automatically translates into a healthy local gaming scene,” he said.

“There’s a healthy games development scene here. Local studios have already done work on some large international releases such as Uncharted 4.”

Wijman said half of the revenue in Malaysia was generated by downloaded mobile games, while 35% came from boxed and downloaded PC games.

The mobile gaming industry will represent more than half of the total games market by 2020, Newzoo adds

“Console games alone contributed 14% of the total revenue,” he said. The high revenue from mobile games in Malaysia is remarkable since many gamers are still reluctant to pay for them.

One such avid gamer, 27-yearold bank executive Hadi Pereira, said he prefers PC games a lot more because of the better graphic experience.

“I roughly spend about RM500 to RM1,000 annually on PlayStation 4 games because the experience is definitely worth the money, but I will never fork out a sen for mobile game apps,” he said.

Another gamer concurred. Mechanical engineer Sankaran Karananeethi, 29, said he buys games for his PC and PlayStation 4 — but not mobile game apps.

“I spend about 15 to 20 hours on my PlayStation 4 weekly and I have invested a minimum of RM600 a year on my games,” he said.

However, for many others the convenience and availability of mobile phone games outshine the full experience of PCs and consoles.

A typical mobile gamer would be like 32-year-old housewife Aznah Faizal, who said that she finds mobile games to be a “lifesaver”.

“I use them mostly to keep my kids entertained. Though many parents would not admit it, these games really do help when you need to get some work done.

“I spend an average of RM150 to RM200 a year on these games, where I download them onto my tablet,” she said.

A market intelligence provider for Newzoo said as a whole, the South- East Asian region is displaying an annual growth rate of 25% up to 2020.

“Greatly influenced by its population, especially when compared to countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, I believe that the Malaysian games industry will follow the region’s trend for growth towards 2018.”

According to Newzoo’s Global Games Market report, the Asia-Pacific territories are forecast to generate US$51.2 billion, or 47%, in total global game revenues this year alone.

“This growth represents a 9.2% year-on-year (YoY) increase. “Achieving US$27.5 billion so far this year, China takes the lead in the global game revenues, followed by the US — its estimated revenue to hit US$25.1 billion.”

A majority of China’s growth is generated from mobile gaming.

Newzoo also revealed that this year, US$108.9 billion in games revenue is anticipated to be generated by 2.2 billion gamers across the globe.

This shows an increase of US$7.8 billion from the year before.

“Digital game revenues will account for US$94.4 billion, or 87%, of the global market — highlighting mobile to be the most lucrative segment, with the smartphone and tablet gaming industry growing 19% YoY to US$46.1 billion, claiming 42% of the market.

“The mobile gaming industry will represent more than half of the total games market by 2020.

“The PC and console game markets will respectively generate US$29.4 billion and US$33.5 billion in 2017,” the report added.

Newzoo expects the global games market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of +6.2% to reach US$128.5 billion by 2020.