Gaming remains one of the most popular activities on smartphones, due to fact that these devices make digital gaming portable, anytime-anywhere and even affordable. And when you’re not gaming, you can still use your device to stay connected with the world, search and discover and enjoy other forms of multimedia. It is no wonder that mobile gaming has found popularity wherever smartphones made a foray.
Sometime last year, we had talked about why mobile game publishers should have India on their radar. We talked about how a significant number of smartphone users in the country spend as much 211 minutes a day on mobile gaming. However, this increasing popularity of mobile gaming is not limited to just India. The mobile gaming ecosystem in Southeast Asia is rapidly advancing, so much so that it is estimated that the region will drive the growth of the global mobile gaming ecosystem.
Vietnam for instance, sees 38% of its total gaming revenue coming from mobile devices. This figure amounts to USD 82.4 million. In fact it is estimated that mobile gaming revenue in Vietnam will see the fastest growth compared to all of Southeast Asia, growing at an impressive CAGR of over 87% between 2013 and 2017.
These impressive numbers are a testament to the fact that the country is seeing an upsurge in mobile gamers. The primary reason for this is that today’s smartphones are providing a highly immersive and engaging gaming experience. Also, the average time spent on mobile internet per day in the country, hovers somewhere around two and a half hours, suggesting that more Vietnamese are turning to smartphones for their digital content needs, and the country having over 31 million gamers, it is safe to assume that mobile gaming takes up a significant chunk of this time.
What would truly be an indicator of Vietnam’s booming mobile gaming economy is the volume of game downloads the country has been seeing lately. Vietnam sees a combined app download of over 350 million across Google Play Store and Apple App Store annually. This figure grew by 50% on Play Store and 40% on App Store compared to the previous year. In terms of annual mobile gaming revenue however, App Store saw a 60% jump while Play Store saw a 40% increase during the same period.
The fact that mobile games constituted close to 50% of all downloads on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store, points to mobile gaming becoming an inherent part of the Vietnamese smartphone users’ digital lives. It is also evident from the fact that 48% of mobile gamers spend money on mobile games. Racing games is the most popular mobile genre among both spenders and non-spenders. More non-spenders in Vietnam play brain-training or educational games than payers do.
The country already has an incumbent growing community of over 14,000 developers. Flappy Bird which hit instant mass popularity on release was created by Dong Nguyen, a young Vietnamese developer based in the country’s capital, Hanoi. Nguyen recently pulled the game from the market, but it is still seeing revenues of USD 50,000 each day. This means there is a huge opportunity waiting for game developers, both local and otherwise to capitalize on the country’s demand for mobile gaming, and see their mobile game business flourish.