Rapid technology growth boosts Malaysia’s gaming sector

The country’s largest gaming segment remains to be mobile games with a market volume of RM269m in 2019

By S BIRRUNTHA / Pic By BLOOMBERG

MALAYSIA is well positioned to be a leading player in the gaming industry within the next few years, following the rapid growth of technology such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

ADA chief of agency and COO Anurag Gupta said highly skilled workforce in animation and production, as well as the development of the industry will boost Malaysia’s standing in the gaming sector globally.

“Any country with high smartphone penetration together with low cost and easy access to high speed data will show rapid growth in gaming.

“As long as the government continues to provide the right avenue and resources for the gaming industry, it will continue to grow at a feverish pace.

“However, it is also worthwhile to consider how the allocated funds are being used to develop this industry, especially in terms of reaching out to the grassroot players and supporting their needs,” he told The Malaysian Reserve in an email interview recently.

Gupta added that private companies can also re-evaluate their marketing strategies to gain a foothold in this market, taking the chance to build stronger brand relevance and affinity within the community.

“The gaming industry has grown rapidly over time, from a group of teenagers playing on addictive mobile games to casual gamers of all ages. It has now evolved into a billion-dollar industry,” Gupta said.

“One of the biggest beneficiaries of the growing digital economy in South-East Asia is the gaming industry.

“The buzz on e-sports is already high and Malaysia has 24 e-sports athletes participating in the SEA Games 2019.

“Malaysia is also listed as one of the ‘Big Six’ countries that are contributing to the exponential growth of e-sports,” he said.

Based on the numbers on Statista, the gaming revenue in Malaysia is expected to show an annual growth rate of 9.9%, resulting in a market volume of US$179 million (RM740 million) by 2023.

Currently, Malaysia’s largest gaming segment remains to be mobile games with a market volume of US$65 million in 2019.

Malaysia has also allocated RM20 million, which is a substantial portion from Budget 2020 to develop the local e-sports industry.

“Given these incentives, we are expecting to see higher involvement in gaming activities and brands that can capitalise on this trend to gain an upper hand.

“We also see this as a huge opportunity for our clients and many other industries.

“Professional gaming has created a new channel for advertisers looking to market gaming performance products, energy drinks, streetwear, and more,” Gupta noted.

A recent behaviour insights data gathered by ADA pointed out that at least 5% of office workers in Malaysia play computer or video games at an average of two hours daily at work.

The data also revealed that up to about 8,000 hours were spent on gaming per day per building in Malaysia.

Speaking of the mobile games trend among Malaysians, Gupta said gaming became mainstream when it moved from gadgets such as consoles to mobile phones.

“The behaviour insights data does not necessarily point towards unproductivity or addiction, it just shows the shift on employee behaviour when demands from work have increased manifold.

“So, instead of seeing it as an ‘addiction’ per se, it is more accurate to say that casual gaming on smartphones has now become a new way to de-stress.”

Gupta also lauded the move by telecommunications company, Yoodo, to launch Malaysia’s first “PUBG Mobile” game dedicated data add-on.

“Yoodo provided 20GB of specific data and made it completely free, and as a result, the campaign recorded an impressive reach of 24.3 million across channels.

“The sign-ups for mobile services increased by 25% and the PUBG Mobile data add-on was 23% higher versus the total add-on purchases.

“So, this shows how Yoodo successfully positioned its brand that is committed to gamers and one that is uniquely qualified to meet the needs and requirements of gamers,” he said.

The Malaysian National Creative Industry Policies governed by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia has identified the gaming industry as one of the main categories in the creative industry.

According to a report by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, with the massive growth of the creative industries, more Malaysians are jumping on the virtual world’s bandwagon to kick-start their careers as game developers.

Mida added that moving forward, the gaming industry will continue to grow, as more and more companies and creative individuals are rapidly exploring this innovative industry.

As of now, courses specialising in gaming are being widely offered by local universities and colleges in Malaysia to further boost the industry.

Courses such as game software development and programming can be found in institutions such as Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, and Management and Science University.