GGEZ: Asia’s Mobile Games and Mobile Gamers

Mobile gaming presents a vast opportunity for game developers and publishers, particularly in Asia, where over half of the world’s mobile gaming population resides, totaling 1.21 billion mobile gamers. This audience consistently generates the majority of global mobile games revenue.

Mobile games are more accessible and affordable than their PC and console counterparts, providing publishers with a direct link to a more extensive player base, while allowing developers to experiment with a wider range of genres, gameplay styles, and monetization models.

As mobile games have become more immersive and complex, they have revealed new nuances among Asia’s growing audience of mobile gamers, who have diverse customs, traditions, and preferences. Launching a successful mobile game in Asia requires a deep understanding of the local landscape.

Southeast Asia especially is a region of great diversity, characterized by various cultures and communities. The region is home to some of the most active mobile internet users in the world, with 90% of the 360 million internet users in Southeast Asia accessing the internet through their mobile phones in 2019. Mobile games are particularly popular in the region and have surpassed PC and console games in terms of revenue and downloads.

Local developers in Southeast Asia have outperformed non-Asian developers in the past five years by understanding and catering to local preferences. Cultural norms and beliefs play a crucial role in determining the acceptance of games in different markets. Thus, developers should be aware of and respect local customs when promoting their games. Religion, in particular, is a significant part of daily life in Southeast Asia, influencing cultural acceptability.

Examples of successful game promotions in Southeast Asia include Facebook Gaming’s multi-country Ramadan event and the “Mobile Legends” TET New Year event in Vietnam. Foreign developers and publishers have also partnered with local celebrities and public figures to promote their games, such as “Garena Free Fire” with Indonesian actor Joe Taslim and Gravity Interactive with K-Pop star Lisa from Blackpink in Thailand.

The report below from Google explores the top-grossing mobile games and genres in each country, beginning with China, Asia’s most prominent hub for mobile gamers.