It is a fact that the gaming community is large and growing larger by the day. However, what you may not know is that Asian players account for more than half of the community. More so, Asia is home to over 1.7 billion gamers, driving the majority of the global gaming market. Meanwhile, South Korea, Japan, and China host over 50% of the top gaming developers worldwide.
Asia is undoubtedly taking the lead in the transformation of the gaming industry worldwide. Also, hundreds of blockchain industries are already building in the region, priming it to become the epicenter for blockchain gaming. Let’s take a closer look at the gaming market in Asia, key market players, and the top games players love playing the most.
Key Players in Asia’s Booming Gaming Market
Several countries are currently at the forefront of the gaming market in Asia, although some are considered major players. Let’s consider the key countries of interest in Asia’s booming gaming market:
Many rank Korea as the world’s leading market in video gaming, and gaming is considered a popular social activity here. South Korea has a large online gaming market, and it’s still growing exponentially; in 2016, for instance, it grew 15%. Currently, the League of Legends 2023 World Championship is being held there, with a top prize of $445,000 up for grabs for the winning team. A total of 22 teams from around the world are competing for more than $2.2 million in prizes altogether. The game is massively popular in Korea, with Koreans accounting for close to a quarter of the world’s LoL players.
Korea has fairly limited options for gambling games, but that’s not to say the industry isn’t growing. As in many other parts of the world, slot games are proving popular here – many Koreans access these games through foreign-licenced sites.
Slot sites allow players to easily and conveniently enjoy a variety of popular slot games on their computers at home. Recently, it has become possible to play games using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, so players in Korea, where online gambling is not permitted, can enjoy online slot sites with a simple sign-up without KYC (source: https://www.business2community.com/kr/gambling/online-slots).
Land-based casino gambling is available in the country, but mainly for visitors. There’s only one casino open to locals but, interestingly, it had the largest number of visitors (2084 per 1000 people) in 2022. The next-most visited casino in the same year had 281 per 1000 people visiting, so it could be assumed that many locals visit their only casino.
As one of the world’s most established gaming hardware markets, Japan is home to several tech giants and console manufacturers. The country is regarded as the most mature market for mobile games, with its gaming revenue rising significantly. Also, Japan has experienced undeniably unique success in exporting its games, which also contributed to its growing revenue. The country is home to some of the most prominent gaming brands in the world, including Nintendo, Sony, and Sega.
In terms of popular games, a new Assassin’s Creed title set in Japan will be released soon, which should further help boost the game’s already immense popularity in the country. Best-sellers in 2022 included Pokémon Scarlet/Violet (4.3 million copies) and Splatoon 3 (3.7 million copies). In fact, 9 of the top 10 highest-selling video games in Japan of this year were on the Switch.
Japan’s gambling laws might be quite restrictive, but its native Pachinko is one of the most popular Asian gambling games. It was played by over 7 million Japanese people in 2021, with the average Pachinko parlor having up to 500 machines. It is more like a mix of pinball and slot machines, and has evolved from the manual version to more recent digital versions widely played in Asian casinos.
China is home to over 183 million mobile gamers with mobile phone games currently accounting for over 34% of the world’s gaming market. More than 720 million gamers reside in China and over half of that population plays online. In addition, the number is expected to go higher within a few years thanks to the rising number of female gamers.
Although gambling is not allowed in China, the independent region of Macau is one of the world’s largest gambling markets. Here, there are a unique range of popular games – unlike in other parts of the world, only 5% of Macau’s gaming revenue comes from slots. A favorite game among Chinese gamblers is Pai Gow Poker. This poker variant is quite new to the gambling world, but is already commonly available at casinos targeting the Asian market. Also, Sic Bo is a game that has been present for thousands of years, and has deeply entrenched itself in modern casinos.
Baccarat is popular worldwide, but it’s perhaps considered the most desirable game in Asia, and has plenty of options for players in Macau. With a reputation for being exclusively played amongst the elites, Baccarat is popular among Asians of all backgrounds. Perhaps the simplicity and regal feel of the game are two of the reasons why many players love it. The game generated more than $3 billion in Macau in 2022, and there were more than 5600 gaming tables in total in the region.
The gaming market in Indonesia is currently ranked 17th in the world, with total revenue expected to reach $649.80m by 2027. However, due to the availability of low-income per capita and low-priced options, the country has the lowest Average Revenue per Paying User. Still Indonesia has the fourth-largest population worldwide, meaning it will likely remain among the largest gaming markets in Asia.
To name just a few of the most notable video games developed in Indonesia, we can consider:
- Sentou Gakuen (2011)
- Samurai Taisen (2013)
- DreadOut (2014)
- Rage in Peace (2018)
But what do the players love? Strategy mobile games including titles like Clash of Clans and Game of War: Fire Age are well-liked in the country, yet esports are also on the rise. Mobile Legends is the most popular competitive game title in the country, with Indonesian teams having found success at the MPL tournament and the M Series. Indonesia’s gambling scene is by far the smallest of any countries covered here, with most forms of gambling being prohibited and no casinos operating in the country.
An Overview of Mobile Gaming in Asia
Asia is taking the lead in mobile gaming, with over 55% of the global gaming market resident in the region. Also, the continent generates more than half of the world’s gaming revenue, amounting to US$72 billion annually. Mobile gaming is significantly outpacing console and PC titles, being even more popular than in the U.S. Plus, out of the top ten mobile-specific gaming development establishments globally, five come from China, Singapore, or Japan.
These numbers go to show how Asia is already a leader in the consumer adoption of mobile gaming technology. A good example of this is the role South Korea plays in carrying the flag for free-to-play games adoption. Furthermore, as 5G networks are being deployed, we can expect mobile penetration, which is already on the rise, to continue. The Philippines already has 5G available in 105 of its cities, and this figure is 85 in Korea and 76 in Japan – the three leading Asian nations in terms of 5G availability.
Thanks to better networks, players will have seamless access to cloud gaming services like never before. Mobile gaming will undoubtedly draw an even larger audience in the future once pre-existing hardware barriers have been removed.
Like the global gaming industry, the massive growth of the Asian gaming market is fueled by internet and smartphone penetration. While the market has been growing at a steady rate, the advent of new technologies is bringing about a total transformation, while gambling games are also steadily growing in popularity throughout the region.