In the world of esports, Asia’s importance to the industry’s success is fast becoming indispensable. According to data from research firm Niko Partners, the Asian market contributes over 54% to esports’ global value. In 2020 alone, the region generated a total revenue of 543.8 million USD, and the trend is expected to continue as early growth rate forecasts for 2021 are estimated at a 10.5% increase from the previous year.
Within Asia specifically, the Southeast Asian region is expected to be a major contributor in years to come due to its popularity in local culture.
Southeast Asia Increasing its Contribution
As per data found in a report by Newzoo and Tencent, the esports revenue in the ASEAN region could potentially total 39.2 million USD by the end of 2021. More importantly, an increase in esports revenue in Southeast Asia is likely to occur in the following years as the region registered a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.8%—a figure which eclipses the global esports CAGR of 11.1%.
Given the swell of industry revenue, specifically the trends which suggest rapid and long-term growth, the esports industry will have a considerable beneficial effect on the Southeast Asian economy. Additionally, as more individuals and institutions alike (i.e., national governments, esports organizations, viewers, etc.) become invested through various capacities in the region’s esports scene, then it is reasonable to expect that revenue will only continue to increase.
Currently though, one must wonder how and what is catalyzing progress within the esports industry in Southeast Asia. While there are several factors that contribute to such development, mobile gaming is perhaps the most significant growth driver.
Mobile Gaming as a Driving Force
For example, data found in YCP Soldiance’s white paper The Next Level: The Rise of Esports in the Philippines shows that the Philippines’ most popular mobile game recorded 2.65 million active users per day in April 2019. Similarly, from the months of November 2018 to April 2019, the daily active user rate registered a CAGR of 8.78%. Presently, in regard to the entire Southeast Asian mobile gaming industry, a total of 948.5 million mobile gaming users were registered in 2020 as per Scoop Business. This total is eventually expected to reach 1 billion Southeast Asian users by 2021.
Consumer insight data also suggests that 82% of the Southeast Asian online population play mobile games such as Mobile Legends, the most popular esports title in the Philippines. Although esports happens through several modes and platforms, mobile gaming’s emergence as the popular choice within Southeast Asia should be no surprise.
Part of the reason why mobile gaming has become a go-to option for gamers of all ages is its accessibility. Through mobile devices, the gaming world is quite literally available at one’s fingertips. Thus, with mobile gaming continuing to blossom because of its increasing user base, expect this sector to continue to play an integral part in the esports industry and its revenue.
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