Esports has always grown much faster in the developed economies such as North America and Western Europe due to sophisticated IT infrastructure. Major esports titles also mostly played on PC, which posed significant entry barriers for those living in developing markets. This is now changing due to smartphones being more accessible than ever with major esports opportunities for developing markets such as Southeast Asia, where mobile gaming dominates.
A new consumer insight study conducted by Newzoo showed that a whopping 82% of the total online Southeast Asia population plays mobile games with 39% being mobile-first gamers.
“We are seeing the rise of esports from being played via traditional PCs and consoles to mobile esports, and this is influenced by new developments in improved mobile hardware and 5G networks,” said James Yang, Director of PUBG MOBILE Global Esports, Tencent Games.
Southeast Asia as the region has seen the fastest revenue growth in the global esports industry. Esports revenue in Southeast Asia is expected by Newzoo to grow at a healthy CAGR (2019 – 2024) of +20.8% to reach US$72.5 million in 2024. The growth rate is nearly double the global CAGR of +11.1% for the sector.
By the end of 2021 the region will hit 42.5 million esports audiences. In Southeast Asia, the spectacular rise of esports has been fuelling the games market. The region’s unique mobile-first nature means the two most-watched esports events are mobile games – PUBG MOBILE and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
PUBG MOBILE has an expansive competitive presence in Southeast Asia with esports opportunities at all levels of play from its PUBG Mobile Club Open to its PUBG Mobile Pro League Southeast Asia Championship. In PUBG MOBILE’s latest global tournament, PUBG Mobile World Invitational 2021, Thailand based Valdus Esports were crowned winners of the PMWI East showcasing the strength of the region.
“Esports is a significant trend that few can ignore, and stakeholders from within the industry and outside of it will benefit by coming together to further develop and enhance the ecosystem. It’s no doubt a catalyst that will spur the growth of various relevant industries with innovations in the region and across the world,” said James Yang, Director of PUBG MOBILE Global Esports, Tencent Games.