By: Lester Sualog LinkedIn, Senior Client Development Director for Enterprise APAC at PureSpectrum

Online gaming and e-sports have seen enormous global growth over the last five years, and the vast majority of this billion-dollar market sits right here in Asia.

With positive international business headlines in mind, PureSpectrum has taken a snapshot of the Southeast Asian gaming market. The study previews marketing opportunities and how market research clients can access gamers via advanced targeting from broad, multi-sourced audiences.

Got a minute? Filipinos and Thais have hours 

We know that more people are playing online games globally, year on year, but in Asia they are playing for the longest amount of time. 

In our regional study conducted in August 2022, the Philippines recorded the most time spent on mobile devices for online gaming/e-sports, while Thailand had the most time spent on PCs/laptops. The proportion of gamers among 13–24-year-olds across five Southeast Asian markets was higher than in any other age group. If we project the hours spent daily by Filipinos and Thais playing games non-stop, it equates to months each year. 

Why mobile is king

Along with the shift to mobile-first in several online activities (e.g. payment, social media, email, etc), gaming has widened the gap between PCs and other devices.  

A 2022 study by claimed that mobile has expanded the gaming market by being the most inclusive device, allowing every type of gamer to access every genre/subgenre of game. Mobile has democratised gaming access and serves as the primary entry point as it sets the stage for ‘new gamers’ to become part of the category.

Among the Southeast Asian markets, the Philippines is dominating the base of mobile gamers, while Thailand maintains a strong base of PC/laptop gamers.

The rise of female players

The shift to mobile devices has led to the dominance of specific games and game categories over others. Mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are played most often, thanks to their massive following on PC. The most popular MOBA games globally are Arena of Valor, Mobile Legends: Bang, and Brawl Stars. The growth of these three MOBA games is not showing any signs of slowing down in 2022 among Southeast Asian players.

We should not miss out on opportunities in other game categories, such as racing, RPGs/ARPGs, sports, and puzzlers, particularly when considering gender splits. Our study confirms that the gap between males and females is narrowing, as more women are now playing video games that combine the core elements of action games and role-playing. The recent advancement of women in the gaming market is especially clear in Indonesia, where young women are infusing the country’s robust market. These players can also be found in similar countries with large populations and a burgeoning middle class, like the Philippines and Vietnam.

Accessing niche online communities 

Given the massive opportunities presented by the online gaming/e-sports industry, PureSpectrum pre-qualifies respondents using its Advanced Targeting feature. The PureSpectrum Marketplace has developed a pre-qualifying system for both consumer and B2B target audiences, allowing its clients to check the feasibility of the survey from common respondent groups down to niche targets. While this is commonplace in the traditional proprietary panel model, it is less so in a multi-source environment, as PureSpectrum can cater to bespoke qualifications based on specific client needs.

The numerous online gaming studies that PureSpectrum has conducted in Southeast Asia and beyond have provided enough fact-based evidence to access the hectic world of online games/e-sports enthusiasts. The key is to target gamers on the devices and in the environments in which they reside (i.e. multi-sourced audiences from panels, publishers, affiliates, and more, all underpinned by PureScore™). 

Study methodology

PureSpectrum interviewed a total of N=1,000 general population respondents (males/females, 13+ years old, from all household income classes) from Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, from 16th to 17th August 2022.

PureSpectrum offers a complete end-to-end market research and insights platform, helping insights professionals make decisions more efficiently and faster than ever before. Awarded MR Supplier of the Year at the 2021 Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards, PureSpectrum is recognised for industry-leading data quality. PureSpectrum developed the respondent-level scoring system PureScore™, and they believe their continued success stems from talent density and dedication to simplicity and quality.

This article was first published in the Q3 2022 edition of Asia Research Media

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