Tag Archives: gaming

AdColony And Anzu.io Join Forces To Bring Blended In-Game Ads To APAC

AdColony, the in-app advertising marketplace for brands, with a focus on gaming, has signed an exclusive partnership with global in-game advertising platform, Anzu. AdColony will now offer Anzu’s market-leading blended in-game advertising solutions across both display and video to brands and agencies in Asia Pacific.

In-game advertising platform Anzu seamlessly blends real-world brand ads into gameplay across PC, console, and mobile games, while offering advertisers comprehensive ad viewability and programmatic capabilities. A brand’s ads can now appear literally within the game – on the virtual perimeter boards around the football stadium, on a billboard in the street of an open world classic, or on custom-painted Formula One racing cars.

Screenshot of an in-game ad from 7-Eleven mobile campaign on Gravity Rider Zero
Screenshot of an in-game ad from 7-Eleven mobile campaign on Gravity Rider Zero

The AdColony and Anzu partnership also brings a suite of trusted industry tools, including campaign effectiveness measurement, fraud prevention and ad verification for the first time to blended in-game advertising across APAC – inventory is also available programmatically via the AdColony SSP. Put together, this opens up new ways for brands to reach gamers globally by making gaming and esports advertising opportunities more accessible, locally.

The launch of Anzu via AdColony means brands across the Asia Pacific region will be able to generate deeper levels of engagement with audiences via advertising within games. More than 1.5 billion consumers in Asia Pacific are gamers, and 70 per cent play games daily on their mobiles. Furthermore, 40 per cent claim to play more games since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Anzu’s CEO and Co-Founder, Itamar Benedy commented, “APAC is really the epicenter of worldwide gaming, and Anzu is thrilled to bring the combination of our programmatic in-game advertising experience with AdColony’s offerings to the region. This partnership represents a major opportunity for advertisers who are ready and eager to reach these ultra-engaged audiences.”

Tom Simpson, AdColony’s SVP for APAC said, “We passionately believe that gaming is the new and improved social media for marketers in terms of connecting with consumers at scale. This opportunity has been accelerated in recent months with the pandemic, and 2020 has seen an enormous uplift in the demand for new solutions for brands to reach gaming audiences. This partnership allows AdColony’s expertise in APAC markets to combine with Anzu’s global-leading blended in-game ad technology to offer a unique solution for brands to connect with consumers seamlessly in and around their favourite games. We look forward to pioneering new marketing offerings for our clients and delivering great work across APAC.”

The New Digital-First Myanmar Consumer

COVID19 has had a huge impact on the digital consumption habits of people in Myanmar.

Consumers have broadened their adoption of new technology to support their requirements from increasing digital entertainment including mobile games and online video, to online shopping and food delivery.

A recent report from Myanmar advertising platform Humology took a deep-dive into the detail:

  • There are now 35 million total online consumers in Myanmar, with only 22 million on Facebook
  • 56% of consumers now go online multiple times every day –
    an increase of 75% since COVID19
  • 80% of consumers have added a new app on their smartphone since COVID19
  • 71% of consumers now watch online video every day – an increase from 42% since COVID19
  • 69% have increased video streaming on online video platforms such as OTT and CTV
  • 65% are playing more games on their smartphones and tablets – interestingly 52% of the mobile gaming audience are female
  • 72% play mobile games every day with a 37% increase in consumers playing multiple times per day
  • Social platforms are trusted by only 46% of consumers whereas local websites are trusted by 75% of consumers

Evolving consumer behaviour will result in changes in how marketers choose to execute in Myanmar, with more of a focus on online video, mobile gaming and ecommerce.

Full report below.

The Rise of Mobile Gaming in Vietnam: Taking it to the Next Level

by Jade Hoang Business Development Manager, Vietnam, Nativex

The COVID-19 pandemic may have negatively impacted some industries, but others have experienced remarkable upticks in growth. In particular, mobile gaming has seen a notable surge, as extended stay-home restrictions have increasingly opened up pockets of time for consumers to play online games. This is especially significant in regions such as Southeast Asia – where 90% of individuals use their mobile devices to access the Internet, and spend over four hours a day on mobile applications. In Southeast Asia, strong growth in mobile gaming is still anticipated, with a forecasted 250 million mobile gamers in the region by 2021, led by Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam, in particular, has shown unique characteristics and untapped potential for developers and advertisers alike to reach in-market gamers and consumers. 

Vietnam’s mobile gaming landscape 

With a quickly-growing economy and youthful populace, Vietnam has seen the number of internet users in the country triple over the past decade. Similar to other countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s mobile-first population sees 72% of adults in the country using a mobile device every day. In Vietnam, there are approximately 3.99 million gamers, and over 60% are between 18 and 30 years old. With COVID-19, online gaming in Vietnam spiked, with a 40% increase in mobile game downloads before and after the 2020 Tet holiday in Vietnam (compared with no increase across the same period in 2019).

Chinese-themed online games have also proven to be highly popular in Vietnam due to cultural similarities. In 2017, all but 15 of the 293 games released in Vietnam were launched by Chinese developers. Additionally, data from the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications revealed that 69% of legal massively multiplayer online (MMO) games in the country in 2020 were released by Chinese companies. In the same year, Vietnam also ranked second in terms of mobile video gaming experience in Southeast Asia, behind only Singapore. The high quality of mobile experiences available in Vietnam enables local gamers to enjoy games that demand more powerful graphics and processing systems – such as midcore and hardcore games. 

Midcore and hardcore games

Midcore and hardcore gamers are defined by distinct behaviour and characteristics, setting them apart from softcore or casual gamers. Understanding these motivations and responses are critical for developers and companies to attract the right customers and grow their user bases. 

Midcore gamers still enjoy video and online games, despite busy schedules, and are more invested in gaming than softcore or casual gamers. Correspondingly, midcore games are more challenging than casual titles, usually offer competitive modes, and require strategy and skill to reach milestones and climb rankings. Comparatively, hardcore gamers play to win against other players, test and build their skills, and even complete a game to fully experience the in-game universe. Several steps up from midcore games, hardcore games demand significant time investment, for players to learn game mechanics and immerse themselves in storytelling. Hardcore titles span massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA) and first-person shooters, many of which are used in competitive esports arenas. 

Esports has proven a lucrative and extremely popular activity across Asia, generating $519 million in revenue in the region last year – representing half of global esports revenue in 2019, and by far the highest figure out of any region in the world. As COVID-19 continues to compel people all over the world to stay indoors, similar strong growth is anticipated in the immediate to medium term. As a result, mobile game developers are in the optimal position to leverage digital channels and reach out to key demographics, to acquire new users for up-and-coming midcore and hardcore games. 

Reaching the right audiences 

To reach the right users for midcore and hardcore games, and maximise acquisition especially during the initial launch phase, developers must carefully analyse consumer behaviour, and tailor advertising strategies to complement these preferences. A key concern for midcore and hardcore titles is around audience targeting – these games do not need to acquire a high volume of downloads and players, but rather need to build a qualified volume, with a high lifetime value – where downloads are made by the right target users who will continue playing a game for an extended time. 

One key strategy for developers is leveraging up-and-coming social channels for maximum impact. This method of increasing large-scale visibility with the target user profile is especially effective in Asia, where social media is constantly used by a large base of young, digitally savvy individuals. In particular, hashtag challenges on TikTok have proven to be especially successful. Hashtags are situated at the app’s top entry points (such as in-feed ads and challenge pages), and are supported by a constant flow of user-generated content – both of which greatly increase visibility. 

Developers have also used playable ads to successfully drive acquisitions for midcore and hardcore games. Playable ads showcase midcore and hardcore games from multiple perspectives, including mechanics, characters, skills and combat. For example, interactive ads from the launch campaign of fantasy MMORPG Dragon Raja allowed the target audience to personalise character appearances and costumes. This in turn helped spotlight highly unique in-game elements, and enabled viewers to directly experience gameplay in an immersive, engaging manner. 

Having a deep understanding of target audiences and personalising campaigns based on these insights have also proven particularly effective. With Dragon Raja, which was launched in February 2020, Twitter and Snapchat were selected as the key social channels to run the launch campaign. These channels were deliberately curated to cater to the target markets of the US, Canada and Germany. To enhance targeting and ad relevance, key user demographics (such as gender and areas of interest) were also identified, and customised creatives were delivered to these specific groups via the selected social channels. As a result, Dragon Raja managed to surpass 2.7 million downloads within the first 30 days of launch.

The future of mobile gaming

While different regions and countries bounce back from COVID-19 at different rates, mobile gaming will continue its strong positive growth – especially for mobile-centric countries such as Vietnam – and is forecasted to reach a potential $98 billion in revenue by 2024. More and more consumers look to playing online games as a form of release, especially in a time where physical travel is all but impossible. In this situation, developers are well-positioned to actively build and scale their user bases, as the overall target audience base continues to grow. They hence need to be especially savvy about evolving demographic trends and preferences, and tailor strategies to showcase emerging games at the right place and the right time, to the right individuals – to ultimately attain conversion and user acquisition. 

Launching Growjek – ASEAN Tech, Digital, Startup & VC Newsletter

A quick note to readers of this site, I’ve started a biweekly email newsletter called Growjek.

Link to the latest issue here.

Sign up if you’re interested in a digest of ASEAN (with an Indonesia focus) tech, digital, startups, VC, internet, fintech, gaming, ecommerce, adtech and lots of other stuff related to the ‘new economy’ every other Friday.

There are already 124 other people on the list, so you’re in good company.

The Growjek thesis is this:

  1. ASEAN is the biggest and most exciting multi-decade growth and investment opportunity in the world right now — driven by ‘new economy’ tech
  2. Indonesia is — by size alone — the natural centre of gravity for ASEAN (sorry Singapore, but you have a crucial role to play as THE open-source regional aggregator platform!)
  3. ‘New economy’ investment and innovation flows first into ASEAN, and by extension Indonesia, but increasingly in the years (and decades) ahead out of Indonesia and across ASEAN

The Growjek newsletter will be more VC and investment focused than Digital in Asia, which covers a broader region, and a wider range of topics.

Enjoy!

Gaming and Esports Spotlight on Indonesia

Indonesia is a dynamic market for mobile games and esports, especially given its ever-increasing rate of internet and smartphone users.

With an online population size of 171 million, favourable demographics with 60% of the population aged between 15-54, and a government that supports the development of gaming and esports, Indonesia is an emerging gaming powerhouse.

This spotlight report from Niko covers the detail.

The Game-Streaming Market in China

China’s streaming ecosystem is a far cry from what’s going on in the West, in terms of content, monetization, and how the audience interacts with the content.

While platforms such as Twitch and YouTube generate the majority of their revenues through subscriptions, China’s biggest platforms, including YY Live, Huya, and Douyu, predominantly make money from user donations to streamers.

China is a mobile-first country and this is reflected in its game-streaming market. The collective nature of traditional Chinese culture also means that its viewers engage with content differently to Western viewers. Interactions between viewers and the streamers are far more prominent in China, thanks to innovative platform features such as bullet chats.

Chinese streaming platforms are also generally less toxic toward women, as gender balance is very important in Chinese culture. In fact, there is less toxicity all round, as gaming and streaming are considered social activities in China

This report from NewZoo looks at the game-streaming market in China in detail.

Japan Paves The Way For Significant Boost In Digital Entertainment 

This past summer, Japan made a legislative manoeuvre that went surprisingly under the radar, particularly given a bright spotlight on the country’s innovations ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The country legalized casino gaming, with the first resorts expected in the mid-‘20s and a whole new genre of entertainment suddenly open for business.

Those who keep close tabs on Japanese politics likely weren’t surprised by the move, as it had actually been approved by the body known as the House of Councillors some months previously. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had also voiced support for the process of legalizing casino gaming both as a means of improving tourism beyond the Tokyo area (which does just fine on its own) and with the aim of stimulating the national economy. Anyone familiar with casino resort tourism around the world undoubtedly recognizes that this is a legitimate goal. Existing casino resort hubs around East and Southeast Asia already do quite well on this front, with Macau reporting 21.9 billion patacas in revenue in the month of September alone (roughly $2.7 billion, for reference). And that’s in a year of recovery following a slight downturn in Macau casino business.

What will be interesting to see is whether or not Japan’s new foray into casino entertainment extends to the digital realm. We don’t know yet exactly how all-encompassing the gambling legislation will be, but it appears that online casino growth will be encouraged, or at least welcomed. And here, we’d be talking about a far bigger business than many people who don’t engage directly with it may imagine. Most are aware that there are massive poker tournaments online, and that slot machines can be played in arcade form. However, there are also other table games in digital form, such as roulette, blackjack, and baccarat, that have become very popular at gaming sites. There are brand new sites emerging for bingo as well, not to mention betting platforms that are closely tied to online casinos. The point is, we’re not merely talking about a few poker sites, but rather a whole industry of real money gaming.

This is an industry that ropes in billions and billions of dollars on an annual basis, and whether Japan simply welcomes existing gaming platforms or spawns the design of new ones, it will seemingly be a new contributor in this market. It’s a massive boost in digital entertainment, and possibly a massive business opportunity as well.

2018 is “The Year of App” for World Cup marketing

From 14 June to 15 July, almost half of the world’s population will divert its attention to the 32 hopefuls fighting it out for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

In the periphery, marketers will engage in a battle of their own, with brands scrambling to ride the hype and global reach of the tournament to push effective campaigns.

While the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was marked by social media, the upcoming tournament in Russia is set to be the World Cup of Mobile. Internet penetration has grown from 42% to 55% since the last tournament, and mobile now makes up 73% of total internet consumption.

Tentpole sporting events are particularly suited to mobile app targeting, as sports fans are typically never far from their mobile devices, and a large portion of content related to the tournament will be consumed on a mobile device.

Live streaming has grown massively over recent years, to the extent that the 2018 Winter Olympics was live streamed by twice the people compared to 2014. In addition, 30% of fans stream sporting events on their mobile devices because it allows them to watch games and events “on their own terms”. Second screening in live sports is also huge – 80% of viewers use their mobile devices to search for player stats and to replay videos of key plays.

Beyond live streaming, several other mobile app categories see uplifts during major sporting events:

A new App Annie reports covers everything brands and agencies need to know about mobile marketing during World Cup 2018.

The App Marketer’s Guide to the World Cup [White Paper]

Mobile App Predictions for 2018

[Photo] Jaede Tan, Regional Director, App Annie
Jaede Tan, Regional Director of App Annie
2018 marks the 10 year anniversary for both the Apple App Store and Android market. In the short time since the first wave of apps were published in 2008, they have impacted the lives of people all over the world on an unprecedented level. There are now apps for almost anything and everything – hugely successful apps that incorporate AR and VR, apps dedicated to events, and even an app just for popping bubble wrap.
Who could ever have imagined that apps would evolve from the simple Snake game on the Nokia phone (yes that was an app), to driving a $6.3 trillion industry in 2021?
Looking back over 2017, the app economy has hit some significant milestones:
  • By the end of October 2017, the iOS App Store and Google Play had more than 2 million and more than 3.5 million apps available, respectively.
  • New apps continue to be introduced at a strong pace. During the month ending October 31, 2017, roughly 50,000 new apps launched on the iOS App Store and over 150,000 were added to Google Play.
  • Across mature markets, users have up to 90 or 100 apps installed on their devices, 30 of which they use on a monthly basis. On average, people are spending two hours per day — which equates to one month out of every year — in apps.
  • More than 40 countries will generate over $100 million in consumer spend in 2017 for iOS App Store and Google Play combined.
  • Apps play a key role in almost every industry today, including retail, banking, travel, QSR, CPG and media & entertainment .

It is apparent that the evolution of mobile apps have transformed the everyday lives of people, and users continuously expect their favourite apps to be improved. There are several aspects of an app which users expect to be improved, but convenience is a core theme that underlies many of our predictions as we look to 2018.

1. Worldwide Gross Consumer App Store Spend Blows Past the $100 Billion Mark

The continued evolution of markets across the globe has led app monetization to continuously grow at an outstanding rate. Apart from games, which traditionally account for the majority of overall spend, we foresee spending in e-commerce apps such as Alibaba and Amazon to drive worldwide consumer spend – which is expected to grow about 30% year on year to exceed $110 billion in 2018. In APAC, consumer spend on apps hit $17.1 billion in H1 2017 alone.

2. App Store Curation Drives Higher Overall IAP Revenue and Expands Opportunity for Independent Publishers

In June 2017, both Apple and Google announced updates to the iOS App Store and Google Play aimed to alleviate this issue through app curation and editorial content. We predict that these updates will have a significant impact on apps in 2018, in particular apps that help people occupy their leisure time. These types of apps, which tend to be entertainment-centric, are most likely to connect with consumers when they are casually browsing through the app stores. Conversely, “needs-based” apps such as UberEats or DBS PayLah! are far more likely to be downloaded based on word of mouth recommendations or focused searches when a user encounters a particular need.

3. Broader Adoption of AR Apps

Pokémon GO and Snapchat sparked huge interest in augmented reality (AR) among the masses, and we foresee that AR will take another significant step forward towards realizing its massive potential in 2018.

Facebook, Google and Apple have taken the lead at their developer conferences in 2017, and together with the Chinese powerhouses Alibaba , Baidu and Tencent , have set the foundation for AR-related initiatives. These initiatives will accelerate the space by making it easier and faster for publishers to develop AR apps, while also stoking consumer interest. For example, in Japan, starting in May 2017, there has been a significant increase in iPhone app downloads for the top ranking apps by “Augmented Reality” app store search in Japan, and other APAC countries.

apps ar japan

4. Fragmentation of the Video Streaming Space Accelerates

It is now not an uncommon sight to see people catching up on their favourite Netflix series or Hollywood movies while on the move. 2017 has been another extraordinary year for video streaming services and total time spent in Video and Entertainment apps tripled to almost 40 billion hours in APAC alone.

video streaming apps

Between H1 2015 and H1 2017, time spent in the Video Players and Entertainment categories on Android phones in APAC has tripled to reach close to 40 billion hours – almost half of the worldwide total.

Year to date through October 31, 2017, these apps have driven significant growth of worldwide consumer spend for the Entertainment category on both iOS and Google Play. However, as some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry and app economy — including Netflix , Apple , Google , Facebook , Snap and Disney — have announced huge plans to expand their footprints in variety of ways, we expect that 2018 to mark the beginning of an inflection point for this space, in terms of fragmentation. In fact, our research shows that Android users in South Korea who use video streaming apps are significantly more likely than average to be accessing other video and related entertainment services.

Overall, this space will continue to see steady growth in terms of revenue and engagement, but in the years that follow, consumers may start to rationalize how they spend their time and money among a dizzying array of choices, resulting in some players succumbing to profit pressures as they get crowded out of this competitive space.

5. Mobile Pushes Towards the Center of the Retail Customer Journey

Analysts and experts have pronounced the retail apocalypse in recent times, and we see apps as a way to reinvigorate consumers’ retail experience. Brick-and-mortar retailers have already embraced apps and shoppers are now very engaged; results are telling from the Great Singapore Sale 2017 , which saw an increase in sales thanks to the GoSpree app. In Indonesia, which has a population of 261 million and a burgeoning middle class, users spend an average of just over 90 minutes per month in Shopping apps, placing it at #2 after South Korea. On 11 November 2017, dubbed Single’s Day, Alibaba generated a record breaking $25.3 billion in sales, with mobile users accounting for 90% of sales. These numbers are only the beginning of what is a rapidly evolving retail experience for consumers.

Come 2018, apps will continue to cause consumers to change their shopping habits which will in turn redefine the relationship between and even the very nature of existing retail channels (e.g., mobile app, web, brick-and-mortar). China, for instance, is one huge influencer in this area. We are seeing people in western markets increasingly use physical stores as a place to pick up items purchased on mobile. In addition, cash registers’ longstanding role in the checkout and payment process will become reduced, or in some cases replaced, by mobile. For many consumers, mobile will be a core part of the shopping experience regardless of channel.

6. Restaurant Aggregators Drive Mobile Conversion as Delivery-as-a-Service Further Penetrates Premium Markets

As we predicted last year, there was some consolidation in the food delivery space. Looking ahead to next year, we expect that aggregators such as Korea’s Yogiyo will continue to expand the addressable market for this space by opening up under penetrated markets as well as converting users who do not currently use mobile apps from intermediaries to order meals. Meanwhile, delivery as a service (DaaS) providers (e.g., UberEATS , Deliveroo) will gain market share in premium markets where customers are more likely to pay more for higher-end restaurants that don’t have their own delivery fleets. Furthermore, we expect more quick-service restaurants (QSR) to respond to the increased competition from food delivery by partnering with DaaS apps, similar to McDonald’s growing partnership with UberEATS . As with video streaming, this space will face consolidation in later years as it needs to rationalize the fragmentation felt by customers and the profit pressures felt by service providers competing in a crowded space.

7. Finance-Related Apps Poised for Most Significant Transformation in 2018

In 2017 in Asia-Pacific specifically, the growth of downloads in the Finance category outpaced all app categories (non-games) combined, with China leading the way. Person-to-person (P2P) payment apps, like WeChat, AliPay, GoPay, Grab Pay and PayTM have been some of the shining stars in the fintech app revolution. They have transformed how consumers, particularly millennials, exchange money, by displacing the use of cash and checks. In the next year, we expect these services to capitalize on their popularity and broaden their range of services in an effort to expand their revenue potential, fend off increased competition from traditional banks and deepen user engagement. With retailers adopting such apps as an option for customers, we expect P2P payment apps to see increased transaction volume. These initiatives have been well received by users, as they will provide even greater levels of convenience. In addition, this space will see increased activity from successful players in other categories, like messaging and social networking, who are constantly looking for additional ways to serve, monetize and engage their large user bases.

These are just a handful of areas where we expect the app economy to evolve over the near future. Despite how far this space has advanced over its first decade, it is just scratching the surface of its full potential. Users increasingly expect apps to completely transform the very nature of how they accomplish goals and tasks, as well as create brand new experiences not possible on other platforms. We are excited to see how app developers change the world by delivering on these needs over the app economy’s second decade.

Myanmar Big on Facebook and Mobile Gaming

Myanmar is a highly mobile market, backed up by the latest research showing 99% of households now own a SIM card. This points to an interesting dynamic where consumers own SIM cards to make calls, but will borrow a common handset from friends or relatives.

MyanmarMobile

Facebook and Gaming are the most popular mobile pastimes in Myanmar, although 95% of consumers still use their mobile phones for phone calls.

mobilephonesmyanmar

Source: Updated Myanmar Research