Asia is set to dominate the global video gaming landscape over the next decade, with eSports to help drive Asian gaming revenues to around US$200 billion by 2030, according to financial services firm UBS.
In a report titled “Ahead of the game”, UBS forecasts a tripling of current revenue levels, with gaming revenues across the region to grow by at least 9.5% annually during this period.
“It’s no coincidence that Asia is the first to recognize eSports as an official sport,” the report says. “The gaming culture and industry in Asia has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. For the first time in history, Asia Pacific’s gaming revenues will exceed that of the rest of the world’s this year, cementing the region’s position as a global gaming leader.
“And we believe the journey has only just begun – Asia’s gaming ascent is set to continue over the next decade, with gaming revenues growing from US$61.1 billion in 2017 to US$200 billion in 2030, according to our forecasts, a more than threefold jump. This forecast is based on our expectation for greater user growth (accounts for one-third of the projected rise in revenues) and increased monetization per user (accounts for the rest).”
UBS notes that its US$200 billion estimate is equivalent to Asia’s entire smartphone industry revenues in 2016, “highlighting the growing relevance of Asian gaming in the future.”
And it is mobile eSports that shapes as the key to future growth.
“The rising trend of eSports in Asia makes us particularly excited about the industry’s growth prospects,” UBS said. “Today, Asia Pacific accounts for 51% of the 395 million eSports fans worldwide. With increased game discovery for users and distribution options for publishers, eSports should drive increased monetization for Asia’s gaming industry.
“Today, most of the monetization in Asia’s eSports industry is through ticketing and sponsorship, but looking ahead, we believe media rights, advertising and merchandise should fuel monetization. The rising trend of mobile eSports will likely be a key driver, as Asia has very strong exposure to both mobile games and mobile viewing given its strikingly high mobile penetration rate.
“Today, PCs are the primary platform for eSports, with PC based titles the most popular ones in terms of prize money. But as mobile eSports take off, Asia should emerge as a leader in monetization.”
The report also notes that player preferences in Asia lean towards eSports becoming an increasingly attractive option.
“We’re positive on the region’s gaming growth prospects because of its unique and strong gaming culture, which has been molded by economic traits and gaming preferences,” it says.
“Given most games are not played on consoles but online through PCs and mobile devices, the most popular games in the region have a social element where gamers compete with their friends and colleagues. In addition, Asians prefer a deep level of customization, in which players pay for virtual skins or avatars to personalize their in-game characters.
“Also, due to a lack of quality entertainment options and gaming’s social nature, gaming has penetrated well beyond cities in the region. Hence, we believe gaming penetration should continue to rise – out of overall entertainment spending, we expect gaming expenditures to reach 19 to 20% by 2020 (versus 13.8% today). This forecast is also conservative, as the incomes of gaming loving Asian millennials and teenagers should increase alongside the industry’s growth in the region.”