Report: Malaysians spend RM2.45 billion on digital games

Research firm Newzoo reveals statistics from gaming industry showing Malaysians spend the most in Southeast Asia, with mobile games accounting for half the revenue

(FMT) – Despite having the sixth largest population in Southeast Asia, Malaysia has outdone its neighbours when it comes to spending on online digital games.

According to a report in The Malaysian Reserve (TMR), Malaysian gamers generated US$589 million (about RM2.45 billion) in revenue for the gaming industry this year, the highest in the region.

“Hardcore Malaysian gamers have been the driving force for the rising gaming industry, which includes programmers and game developers.

“Because PC (personal computer) gaming is typically seen as an activity for ‘core’ gamers, that automatically translates into a healthy local gaming scene,” research firm Newzoo’s gaming market consultant Tom Wijman told the business publication.

He added that with the healthy games development scene, some local studios have expanded and this was seen with their involvement in large international releases, such as Uncharted 4.

One surprising statistic that came from the study is that about RM1.24 billion, or half the total revenue generated by Malaysian gamers, was on downloaded mobile games.

“Boxed and downloaded PC games contributed 35%, while console games contributed 14% of the total revenue,” Wijman told TMR.

The statistic on downloaded mobile games contradicted the general perception that many gamers are still reluctant to pay for them.

China, US top global spending

According to Newzoo, as a whole, the Southeast Asian region is displaying an annual growth rate of 25% up to 2020.

The market intelligence provider’s Global Games Market report also forecast that Asia-Pacific territories will generate US$51.2 billion, or 47%, in total global game revenues this year alone.

“This growth represents a 9.2% year-on-year increase. Achieving US$27.5 billion so far this year, China takes the lead in the global game revenues, followed by the US — its estimated revenue to hit US$25.1 billion,” the Newzoo report said.

Newzoo also revealed that this year, US$108.9 billion in games revenue is anticipated to be generated by 2.2 billion gamers across the globe. It represents an increase of US$7.8 billion from the year before.

“Digital game revenues will account for US$94.4 billion, or 87%, of the global market – highlighting mobile to be the most lucrative segment, with the smartphone and tablet gaming industry growing 19% year-on-year to US$46.1 billion, claiming 42% of the market.

“The mobile gaming industry will represent more than half the total games market by 2020.

“The PC and console game markets will respectively generate US$29.4 billion and US$33.5 billion in 2017,” according to Newzoo.