PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA / MANILA,
PHILIPPINES / HANOI, VIETNAM - Media
OutReach - 29 July 2021 - Esports is taking off across Southeast Asia, leading to the emergence of
innovative business models and new career opportunities
in the region, according to a white paper co-developed by Tencent, the world
leading internet company, and Newzoo, the leading provider of games and esports
data and insights.
According to the data from Newzoo, the compound
annual growth rate (CAGR) for esports revenue in Southeast Asia is forecast at
+20.8% from 2019 to 2024 and should reach US$72.5 million in 2024. The growth rate
is nearly double the global CAGR of +11.1% for the sector.
Games & Esports KV
The white paper, titled Games & Esports: Bona Fide
Sports, also noted that, unlike the developed economies of North
America and Western Europe, where esports has grown from a more-sophisticated
IT infrastructure, Southeast Asia's growth is fueled by a more-affordable
mobile-first gaming preference. A 2021 consumer insight study conducted by
Newzoo with respondents from Southeast Asia showed that a whopping 82% of the
total online population in the region plays mobile games. Meanwhile, 39% of respondents are
mobile-first gamers, spending the most time playing mobile games.
James Yang - Director of PUBG MOBILE, Global Esports, Tencent Games
At an industry roundtable hosted by Tencent and
Newzoo, esports sector panelists agreed that the region will benefit from
ongoing trends and developments in the games industry.
"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, cloud gaming and 5G
networks," said James Yang, Director of PUBG MOBILE Global Esports, Tencent
Esports as an economic multiplier
Other panelists including game developer and
publisher, Riot Games; one of the top esports organization in Indonesia,
Bigetron Esports; Vietnam's Recreation and eSports Association (VIRESA) as well
as a member from Malaysia's Asia Pacific University of Technology &
Innovation (APU) described Southeast Asia as a dynamic region. Esports is having a positive economic impact there, with
the emergence of creative business models and new career opportunities within
the esports ecosystem.
"Esports is fast-growing and becoming an
integral part of the local games market. By the end of 2021, it is expected that Southeast Asia will hit 42.5
million esports audiences. Newer esports organizations will be founded,
tournament organizers will enter the market, including broadcast companies and
specialized marketing agencies," said Hugo Tristão, Head of Esports at Newzoo.
The widespread interest among the public about
esports has also changed how content will be shared and consumed. For instance,
the shift from publisher-owned tournament broadcasts to "watch parties" led by
influencers will disrupt how media rights are awarded. This will also have a
spillover effect in terms of how sponsorship marketing for esports evolves.
Additionally, the growth of esports in Southeast
Asia has spawned new career opportunities. Apart from players turning their
passion into a professional career, there are now completely new jobs and job
categories, including content creators, social media influencers,
"shoutcasters", managers and coaches thrown into the fray. Larger esports
organizations even have a back office to support essential business operations,
such as marketing and finance.
Esports is also gaining credibility and
acknowledgement in academic circles. In Malaysia, the Asia Pacific University
of Technology & Innovation (APU) offers skills-based esports certification
programs. In Indonesia, esports is also shaping up as a viable professional
career path for talent.
The inclusion of esports as a medal sport in the
recent SEA Games 2019 underscores the significance and appeal of this industry
in Southeast Asia. Mobile esports, especially, will experience significant
growth in the coming years, supported by technological advancements, strategic
investments aimed at sustaining the ecosystem and increased recognition as a
real sport with talents, skills, competition, and entertainment.
The impact of the pandemic
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the esports
industry in Southeast Asia has taken challenges in stride. Service providers,
developers, publishers and event organizers have responded by investing in
technologies to enhance gameplay and the competition environment for fair play,
as well as online tournament experience for fans watching online.
Throughout 2020, PUBG MOBILE competitions
racked up more than 200 million hours in viewership. Tencent's Yang noted that
more people watch gameplay and esports tournaments online, even if some of them
do not play the game. He said he expects the new user fan base gained during
the pandemic to be sustained when people return to their new normal routine.
And roundtable participants said they believe hybrid events, which with both
online and offline components, will likely become more common after the
The white paper concluded that Southeast Asia's
uniquely mobile-first gaming preference means sector growth is poised to
continue in the years to come, and mobile esports will be the mainstay of
gaming in this 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 Yang.
The industry white paper is available for free
download on https://tencent.blog/sea-esports
Key Takeaways from the White Paper
1. Covid-19 Pivots Shift in
Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated esports viewership and pushed all service
providers, developers, publishers and event organizers in the esports industry
to up their games and invest in technologies to enhance gameplay, competition
environment, as well as online tournament experiences for fans watching online.
It is expected that most of the additional engagements arising from this period
will stick after the pandemic, and hybrid events will become more common.
2. Southeast Asia's First Screen - A
population influences the shift to a 'mobile first' mentality where the
region's increasing online population and high smartphone penetration contribute
significantly to the growth of mobile esports. As infrastructure and internet
connectivity continue to improve, it will play a part to enable the growing
gaming ecosystem in the region.
3. Mobile Esports Contributes to Social
and Economic Benefits
is going mainstream in Southeast Asia with fast-rising recognition in recent
years. In this digital era, esports provides opportunities for corporate
sponsors to target demographics that may be difficult to reach through the
traditional marketing channels. All said, the potential of the industry is
tremendous. It is fast shaping up as a viable career path where talents train
to be professional esports players while concurrently pursuing academic
studies. Esports education is no longer conceptual, and proper accreditation
for esports education is now being offered. Supportive policies from
governments in the region will continue to provide the impetus for future
4. Esports Offers Equal Access to
is a more inclusive and diverse activity intent on offering equal opportunity
to everyone pursuing a career in the sector. In addition to the economic
benefits, a thriving esports industry also contributes toward the betterment of
the society by uniting people from different backgrounds socially and
demographically - society and social status, gender, race, age and physical