Gaming culture in Southeast Asia differs from western markets for a number of reasons – particularly in being predominantly mobile – and brands need to understand the nuances in order to find ways to add value to the experience.
In a WARC Best Practice paper – Playful Minds: A primer on Southeast Asia’s gaming culture – Alasdair Gray, Strategy Director at BBH Singapore, explains that brands need to look at gaming culture with an open mind.
The term ‘gamer’, he suggests, is about as useful these days as ‘watcher’ or ‘reader’; “when the majority of people play games, it’s unhelpful to categorise them as a single group”.
And while western markets might segment gamers in terms of the device used – PC, console or mobile – that’s not at all useful in Southeast Asia, where high-end gaming PCs and consoles are largely unaffordable; the majority have only ever owned mobiles for playing games.
And, again Contrary to western markets, mobile gaming doesn’t have any sense of illegitimacy in the region, Gray points out. In Indonesia, for example, 77% don’t agree with the idea that PC gamers are more ‘hardcore’ than mobile gamers.
Consequently, people are likely to play outside home, in public places or in transit. And an interesting side-effect of this is that where they place affects how they play.
“In the League of Legends community, Korean players are reportedly more likely to surrender early in a losing match because they tend to play in PC Bangs where they pay by the hour. After all, why pay to spend time losing?”
And while mobile games are often seen as ‘snackable’ experiences and designed accordingly, the statistics for Southeast Asia suggest something else.
Singaporeans, for example, mostly play mobile games, but they have the longest average video-gaming sessions in the world: an average of 1.56 hours consecutively playing video games.
Elsewhere, three quarters of Indonesian gaming fans don’t believe that PC games require more time to play than mobile games.
Gray posits a Netflix effect, “where you opt for a TV show because you don’t have time for a film, but end up spending much longer binge watching the series”.
Sourced from WARC