Furthermore, prepaid distribution for Apple and Google vouchers is still not available in most countries on a large scale. These factors mean that e-payment solutions present a big opportunity in the SEA market. In fact, BitCoin and other electronic payment mechanisms are becoming increasingly popular in the region.
Mobile chat platforms are still a major force in the region
Chat applications are extremely popular in SEA and have a large impact on the game market. LINE is particularly popular in the Thai market and most of the popular games are downloaded from their platform.
On the other hand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines are still mostly using Whatsapp, although Facebook Messenger has also become popular recently. Many Indonesians still use BBM due to the legacy of Blackberry service in their country, whereas Vietnam has its own homegrown app Zalo.
As Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger venture further into the value-added service space, they will have a larger impact on the local gaming market, according to Frost & Sullivan. These platforms are quickly expanding into new areas such as taxi applications, music apps, e-commerce and even electronic payments, so it expects these platforms to continue to be at the forefront of digital innovation going forward.
Social media is particularly important in SEA
Social media is extremely important in SEA as compared to its global counterparts. In fact, in terms of the cities with the largest number of Facebook accounts, Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are all in the top ten Facebook cities globally. Jakarta itself is the city with the most number of Facebook accounts in the world. Therefore, the gaming market in SEA is heavily linked with social media, and games with social features are particularly popular in the region.
SEA markets generally play the same games
As seen in the figure above, there are many similarities in the popular games among SEA countries.
The top game in almost every market in the region is Clash of Clans from Supercell, which mirrors the global trend. Thailand is unique in that LINE's 'Let's Get Rich' is the top grossing game, which is logical given the huge popularity of the LINE service in that country.
In terms of other popular games, SEA often sees Chinese language games amongst the top grossing games due to Chinese communities and Korean games from companies such as Com2us are often also popular due to the cultural affinity many youth in the region have for Korean culture.
According to Frost & Sullivan, SEA will be an exciting gaming market to watch in 2015. The region is home to over 600 million potential gamers, economies are growing and disposable income is rising. This increase in income is leading to higher purchasing of smart devices which are then being used to play games.
While payment for gaming is still an issue in the region and spending rates and ARPUs are still relatively low; the overall outlook for the region is still very positive, it concluded.
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