7 Reasons Why Mobile Games Can Perform Well in SEA Market

By Febrianto Nur Anwari

South East Asia become one of the most emerging market in mobile games’ industry in recent years. How mobile games can take this advantage?

South East Asia (SEA) became one of the most emerging markets in the mobile games industry in recent years. What makes it so?

As one of the development regions, SEA looks very interesting for game industry’s stakeholders around the world. This development has been proven with the revenue from mobile games that can reach more than US$1,4 billion in 2016. This market also predicted increases around three times in 2019.

This development is in line with the user’s growth who paid to play a game. The user’s growth can almost double up from year to year. Besides that, the method of payment using direct carrier billing also increases drastically by almost 167% every year.

mobile games

Guy Charusadirakul from Google Play in Casual Connect Asia 2017

This massive market also becomes a tough challenge for home developers, such as Indonesia that has the biggest population. And also for the neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. How can a mobile game perform and is sold well in SEA region? Here are some tips as given by Guy Charusadirakul from Google Play when he was attending Casual Connect Asia 2017 last May.


IP With a Huge Fanbase

mobile games

Source: Koei Wiki

One thing that developers should know is the strength of Intelectual Property (IP). If they are new in game development, they should consider using an existing IP that already has a fanbase. Some of the IPs sold well in SEA are mostly about Chinese dinasty histories (Three Kingdom) and anime/manga from Japan.



mobile games

Source: The Guardian

Localization is very important to penetrate a new market. One of the biggest and most difficult market to penetrate in SEA is Thailand. The lack of English skill is the biggest handicap for Thailand’s gamers. So, if developers want to penetrate this market, localize their games to the Thai language can be a good start.


Suitable File Size

mobile games

Only 4% of the Top 100 free Android games are over 100 MB. Source: AppFigures

The majority of gamers in SEA, especially in the developing countries such as Indonesia and Philippines have mid-range smartphones. So, the game that is sold well in this two countries is a game that has sizes from 50MB to 60MB in average. By creating a game that has minimum size, it can increase the chance to be downloaded. Still, don’t forget to maintain its quality.


The Increase of Direct Carrier Billing's User

mobile games

Data by Fortumo

Direct Carrier Billing is one of the most favorites payment methods in some of SEA’s developing countries, including Indonesia. Although it is more expensive, but this option can reach more people with its convenience. Moreover, the credit card penetration is so low in this country.


Gift Card in Convenient Store

mobile games

The rise of gift cards is also one of the key factors that speed up the mobile game industry’s development in SEA. Not only is easier to use, the gift card’s’ existence in the convenient store (like Indomaret or Alfamart in Indonesia) also makes them easier to get.


Using In Game Message

Source: Telegraph

Gamers won’t know about Direct Carrier Billing and physical gift cards if they don’t get promoted well inside the game itself. So, most of the mobile games in SEA market make use of in-game messages to bring this information to their users. So the gamers will know that they have another option to buy the game or item besides using credit cards.


Conversion to Local Currency

mobile games

Not only convert the USD to local currency, but also adjust the value to follow each of country’s economic growth. As an example, the lowest price for games and apps in the United States can be as low as US$0.9. But, if it converts to Indonesia’s rupiahs, the price can be as low as Rp3000, or 10 Baht if it sold in Thailand.

Edited by Devi




About Writer

Febrianto is the Senior Editor of and the Lead Editor of He started his career in game industry as a game journalist since 2008, and was one of the initial members of since 2011. His biggest interest is local game developer scene. Currently, his mission is to spread the news about Indonesia’s game industry to both local and international game and creative industry’s enthusiast.