Revenue from the online gaming market across the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) region will reach US$30.39 billion in 2018, predicted research firm IDC. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 18.53 percent as the market garnered US$12.96 billion in revenue in 2013.
The revenue growth will be driven by the rise of online gamers, especially those who will be willing to pay for games. IDC projected the number of online gamers to rise to 335.88 million in 2018 from 240.74 million in 2013. The number of paying gamers is also forecasted to reach nearly 150 million in 2018, from 102.81 million in 2013.
According to Shiv Putcha, associate research director of Consumer Mobility at IDC Asia/Pacific, there are several key drivers for the increase of online gamers.
The first key driver is China's dominant contribution to the rise of mobile gaming. In 2013, China reaped US$9.81 billion in revenue, which made up three quarters (75.73 percent) of the online gaming market's total revenue that year. Putcha expects China to remain as the dominant force in the region's online gaming market in next three years.
The second driver is the increasing interest in mobile gaming and new game categories, like multiplayer online battle area (MOBA) and eSports, from gamers in the region. "The higher penetration of Internet, broadband, PC, mobile device and completely free-to-play (F2P) game offerings increased the popularity of mobile games," said Putcha. "Meanwhile, eSports and competitive games such as MOBA games continue to attract online PC gamers," he added.
The third and final drive is the increasing shift from a subscription fee-based business model into a freemium model. Putcha said, "In 2013, online games offered in APeJ were overwhelmingly F2P games and revenue was mainly earned through sale of virtual items. Although revenue will be less predictable than subscription fee-based games, the F2P model will attract more new gamers when they are able to try the games at no cost."
To ride on the expected growth of online gaming across APeJ, gaming companies should ensure that their new games are localised and promoted across multiple mobile platforms to address the vast diversity in the region, advised IDC. These companies should also rely on in-app purchases and advertising to generate revenue from games, added IDC.
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