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GameStart Asia’s Inaugural Survey: Southeast Asian Gamer Market and Potential

By Febrianto Nur Anwari

Ahead of the show, GameStart Asia release their inaugural survey result about the Southeast Asian gamer market and potential. Take a look!


Home is where the game (play) is. Southeast Asian gamers tend to play at home, seeking multiplayer experiences and willing to spend on games. They consume gaming content mainly on YouTube, have a soft spot for game franchise collectibles and apparel, and are quite likely to be spotted nibbling on potato chips as they seek gaming glory.

These are among the key findings of the inaugural dip poll on Southeast Asian gamers. Conducted by Eliphant, organiser of GameStart Asia, the online survey received feedback from close to 2,000 respondents, between the ages of 17 to 45 years old from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Brunei.

“GameStart began five years ago to create an event that gamers in Singapore and this region would want to attend. At a point when there were scant insights on the local and regional gaming scene, the success of our first edition proved that there is an active gaming community. Today, with red hot interest to understand the world’s fastest-growing games market, we see our role in the industry evolving. The survey aims to shed light on what matters to these culturally diverse communities brought together by the passion for gaming, and better equip brands with the insights to engage meaningfully with them,” said Elicia Lee, Managing Director of Eliphant and Founder of GameStart Asia as stated on the official press release.

Southeast Asian gamers: social homebodies willing to invest in their passion

southeast asian gamer

The survey drew responses from students (51%) and working adults alike, with the majority being male gamers (82.1%). Most respondents enjoy playing within the comforts of their own homes (80.8%), while 11.9% of respondents play in cybercafes and arcades, with a minority who play when they are on the move (2.7%). Multiplayer experiences are favored, as nearly 60% of respondents game with their friends.

While light gamers (33.6%) would spend only up to 10 hours a week on gaming, 1 in 4 respondents invest more than 4 hours a day on average (more than 30 hours each week) honing their gaming skills. Their gaming platform of choice remains the PC, as gamers spent the most time on PC games (59.1%), followed by mobile games (28.1%), and consoles such as the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Switch (12.1%).

Despite half of the respondents being students, gamers are willing to pay for their desired gaming experience – more than 1 in 2 (52.9%) will purchase a game, although most (74.5%) do not pre-order their games. On average, 3 in 4 gamers (71.9%) spent up to SGD500 a year, among which more than half spent at least SGD100 annually.

Role-playing games (RPG), first-person shooter (FPS) games, and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) were among the top game genres played by respondents. Awareness and exposure to VR games is low, with only 3% of respondents have tried it.

southeast asian gamer gamestart 2019

Top 5 game genres played by Southeast Asian Gamers

  • Role-playing game (RPG): 21.5%
  • First Person Shooter (FPS) 18.3%
  • Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) 13.6%
  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) 13.6%
  • Fighting 11.4%

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Placing the gameplay experience on top priority – Close to 1 in 2 valued the way they can navigate and play a game as their favourite feature (45.3%), followed by the game’s storyline (26.9%) and the graphics quality (8.5%).
  • More than half of the respondents seek out gaming content on YouTube (59.8%), as well as social media platforms in general (22.6%) and Twitch (11.9%).
  • To complete their gaming experience, respondents purchased game franchise collectibles (21.6%), game apparel (21.1%), and game merchandise (17.3%). Game soundtracks and fan art were among the preferred items as well.
  • Close to half of the respondents (45.2%) stay hydrated on carbonated drinks as they play, while the rest were evenly split between choosing non-carbonated drinks and plain water. The preference for carbonated drinks was especially strong among gamers in the Philippines and Malaysia. For those who fuel up on snacks, crispy potato chips were most sought after, followed by biscuits and chocolates.

Singaporean gamer snapshot

southeast asian gamer - singaporean gamer

Similar to the region, Singaporean gamers prefer to play at home (89.7%) on the PC (53.6%), with mobile games coming in second at 27.7%. Nearly 1 in 2 (42%) respondents game for more than 20 hours per week. The proportion of light gamers (playing no more than 10 hours a week) in Singapore stood at 32.4%, while 1 in 4 (24.5%) are heavy gamers who invest more than 30 hours a week. There was a slightly bigger proportion of solo players in Singapore compared to the region, with just 54.6% of local respondents indicating that they play with their friends.

More Singaporean gamers prefer paid games: More than 4 in 5 play paid games, although 63.2% of respondents do not pre-order their games. They are versatile gamers, with 80% of respondents who play on at least 2 different platforms – the most popular being the PC at 46%, followed by console (23%) and mobile (18%). On their gaming experience, Singaporean respondents tend to spend more than the average gamer, with 65% spending up to SGD500 a year, and 14.6% spending over SGD1,000 a year.

southeast asian gamer - gamestart 2019

Potato chips were the snack of choice for Singaporean gamers as well. Unlike their overseas peers though, 79% of Singaporean gamers prefer non-carbonated drinks and plain water, such as a variety of teas (32%) and plain water (26%). Role-playing games (RPG), first-person shooter (FPS) games, and simulation games were among the top game genres played by local players.

Top 5 game genres played by Singaporean Gamers

  • Role-playing game (RPG): 22.1%
  • First Person Shooter (FPS): 9.3%
  • Simulation: 7.8%
  • Third-Party Shooters: 7.3%
  • Fighting Games, Massive Multiplayer Online: 6.8%, 6.8%

Exciting new game announcements at GameStart 2019

GameStart 2019 will also play host to a number of Asia exclusives (outside of Japan), and visitors will be among the first in Asia to get their hands on the following:

  • MARVEL Super War
  • Marvel’s Avengers
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Disney Tsum Tsum Festival (Bandai Namco Entertainment)
  • Just Dance 2020 (Ubisoft)
  • BlazBlue Cross Battle Tag 2.0 (Arc System Works)
  • MISTOVER (Arc System Work)
  • UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late[cl-r] (Arc System Works)
  • Iron Man VR

Indonesian Console Gamers Behavior in 2018 – Part 1

In this article, we try to break down the Indonesian console gamers behavior in 2018. Please make a note that this is the result from a private research.

Cyberpunk 2077 by CDProjekt Red will also showcase a special gameplay video that has only been shown to audiences in large western shows like E3 and Gamescom. GameStart Asia 2019 will be held this weekend, 12-13 October in Suntec Convention Center, Singapore.

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About Writer


Febrianto is the Senior Editor of Duniaku.net and the Lead Editor of Gameprime.org. He started his career in game industry as a game journalist since 2008, and was one of the initial members of Duniaku.net 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.