Trend Micro Surveys Mobile Gaming in Southeast Asia

July 7, 2014 — by Catherine Quinton


Explosive growth in the mobile gaming industry in Asia is anticipated by everyone in the games industry, since mobile and social networking have already become entwined in daily life there. Dutch-based research firm NewZoo released a report which states that revenue from mobile games in Asia will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 27.3 percent until 2016. They also reported that the Asia-Pacific region has 48 percent of the global revenue from mobile gaming, making it by far the world’s biggest market.

Infograph-part-1Trend Micro has now released the results of a survey documenting the explosive growth of the mobile games industry in Southeast Asia. This survey included responses from 2000 users in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore. On average, one out of every two respondents in this area play games every day on a mobile device. Broken down by country, the rate is: Thailand and the Philippines, 53 percent; Indonesia, 48 percent; Malaysia, 46 percent and Singapore, 43 percent. Across the region, the most popular games are Adventure, Action, and Arcade games. And approximately 50 percent of respondents in Indonesia and the Philippines download games every week, but this is in contrast to a low of 22 percent in Singapore.

The regions vary considerably in how much users are willing to pay for mobile game apps. All players in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines are willing to pay for these apps, but the ones willing to spend the most are in Thailand, where 63 percent are willing to spend more than $10 USD for a game. This is a huge contrast to Indonesia, where 45 percent of users do not pay anything for their apps and another 31 percent will pay only $2 USD or less. Singapore and the Philippines are also very frugal in their game spending habits, with 80 percent and 71 percent of users spending $2 USD or less on a game.

It will probably always be difficult to find players who admit they enjoy in-app advertising, but the countries surveyed do vary in the number of users who say they hate them, from a high of 65 percent in Singapore to a low of 27 percent in Thailand. Players in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines say they hate in-app ads at rates of 50 percent, 45 percent, and 32 percent.

Infograph-part-2Rather shockingly, Trend Micro’s survey revealed that less than half of parents are aware of their children’s gaming habits. This breaks down to a high of 59 percent in the Philippines, 54 percent in Indonesia, 44 percent in Thailand, and 41 percent in Malaysia. The most careful parents are in Singapore, where only 23 percent of parents do not know what their children are playing.

Players throughout this area are very much at risk of downloading fake apps. For example, in the Philippines, although 71 percent of consumers check the authenticity of an app before downloading it, almost half have encountered fake apps. Consumers in other countries are equally at risk: 51 percent in Indonesia, 50 percent in Singapore, 50 percent in Thailand and 38 percent in Malaysia have downloaded risky or fake apps.

Across these regions, a very significant number of users seem unaware of the need for protection on their mobile devices. The number of users who do not use mobile security or anti-virus apps on their devices is highest in Singapore, at 58 percent. Malaysia and Thailand follow, with 44 percent of players using unprotected devices, and approximately one third of survey respondents in Indonesia and the Philippines use no form of protection on their devices.

Trend Micro has recognized the need for greater security on mobile devices and has responded with a new app called Dr. Safety. This app has six different safeguarding features; users will be much less likely to be deceived by a game that is a fake or risky app. Dr. Safety is available from the Google Play Store.

Video Coverage

Terato Tech’s Reza Razali on Discoverablity and Fundraising | Casual Connect Video

July 1, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton



“Our experience of working with clients and game publishers enabled us to grow quickly.”

When Founder and Managing Director Reza Razali started Terato Tech four years ago, the company consisted of him and his brother. During these four years, they have grown to a team of thirty-one. They are now able to maintain a positive cash flow and have received many awards for their accomplishments as a company which develops mobile applications, focusing mainly on games development and daily basis software. Reza describes the company as starting out building enterprise mobile apps for clients, serving both domestic and international markets. From there, they grew into building their own IPs. He says, “Our experience of working with clients and game publishers enabled us to grow quickly.”

Reza Razali
Reza Razali

He has faced many challenges, but one that stands out most to Reza is when a well-known publisher dropped one of their games only a few months after they had signed the contract. It was still necessary for them to continue servicing that IP, but the company and the team persevered. Fortunately, they had healthy revenues from other parts of the business with which they could continue to fund their IP development.

Discoverability and Fundraising

He insists that discoverability is also a problem unless the company has an adequate user acquisition budget or the backing of a well-known publisher.

As for the greatest challenges in the game industry, Reza believes it is discoverability and fundraising. The majority of companies in the area find it necessary to supplement their revenues from IP development with servicing work. It is difficult to raise sufficient funds, and fundraising too early leaves a company vulnerable to a low valuation. He tells us, “I have met various game development companies which gave up 50 percent of the company for less than $10,000 US.” He insists that discoverability is also a problem unless the company has an adequate user acquisition budget or the backing of a well-known publisher. At Terato Tech, Reza works to mitigate these challenges with publishers, partnering, and funding user acquisition.  They work with numerous publishers and have successfully launched games in this way. They have allocated adequate funds for their user acquisition activities.  And finally, they have partnered with companies such as DeNA which assisted them in producing their next IPs.

Reza emphasizes the need for the industry as a whole to find ways to work with these challenges. He sees Casual Connect Asia as a great initiative, allowing developers within SouthEast Asia to connect where there was previously no similar opportunity. He points out that there is a need for more regional platforms for regional developers to connect. Rather than the challenges, Reza sees tremendous opportunities in Asia. Since SouthEast Asia is home to 550 million people, it is a huge market for game companies. There are now many up-and-coming game developers and exciting IPs coming out of the region, which is way Reza is excited about Terato Tech’s new development, a game development accelerator based out of Malaysia. This accelerator is designed to assist game development companies in South East Asia with accelerating and launching games globally.

Video Coverage

Boomzap’s Gabby Dizon on the Importance of Profitability | Casual Connect Video

June 5, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton



Experience has taught: “CASH IS KING, especially in small companies, and you should always protect your cash flow, even at the expense of growing a little slower. Gabby Dizon, Senior Producer at Boomzap Entertainment, feels that the game market in Southeast Asia has been overlooked, although as a region it is very active in social and mobile games. Because of low ARPU, this market has been underserved, but he says, “The rise of free-to-play games, as well as a very socially active population, means that opportunities continue to increase. There are now many ways to benefit from the Southeast Asia market.” Now he is optimistic about SEA market’s future.

Working With Game

Gabby brings a life-long passion for games to his work in the industry. He grew up with PC games and went on to study IT in college specifically because he wanted a career making games. He spent several years in web development before getting his first break in games.Ten years later, he continues making games.


In Gabby’s work as Senior Producer, he coordinates the milestones and releases of all projects across the company. Boomzap releases five to seven original titles each year. Factor in Mac builds, localization, streaming and iOS, and the result is more than one hundred SKUs over the year. Everyone on the team is intensely involved in their own aspect of each project. Gabby’s responsibility is to oversee all the projects at the macro level and communicate with the publishers about these projects. He also leads the QA team that ensures the quality of all products. Because he has spent ten years in design and production, he is well aware of the pressures involved in delivering a great game. This perspective is invaluable in his position as a producer in the company.

Maintaining Balance

Over the past ten years, Gabby has seen a maturation of the game industry. The demographics are changing as gamers grow older; people who played games in the 80s and 90s are still playing. The game industry changes at a very rapid pace, and people in this industry must struggle to find a proper work/life balance. At Boomzap, a major emphasis ia making sure the team makes great games, but still has a happy, well balanced life outside the company. He tells us, “I’m incredibly proud of helping to shape Boomzap into what it is now—a creator of several #1 games for PC and mobile while at the same time we have enough time for family and our own personal pursuits outside of work.”

Awakening: Skyward Castle

As Gabby considers the challenges he has faced in his career, he emphasizes the importance of profitability and maintaining an adequate cash flow. In 2005, he opened his own game company, but was forced to close down in 2009 as a result of cash flow problems. He insists this experience taught him, “CASH IS KING, especially in small companies, and you should always protect your cash flow, even at the expense of growing a little slower. Nothing makes you sleep better at night than knowing you have enough money in the bank to pay everyone in the studio.”

Video Coverage

Wai Cheong Choy: Asia is Where the Money is! | Casual Connect Video

May 30, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton



Acquiring high quality users can only happen when you choose the right partner to work with.

Wai Cheong Choy is the Director and COO of Metaps Pte Ltd, the Singapore-based subsidiary of Metaps Inc., where he focuses on building strategic alliances and business growth in Southeast Asia. Choy finds great satisfaction in helping game developers make it to the top of the rankings, eventually becoming the top grossing app in the Google Play store. When this happens, it proves the direction his company has been giving has been exactly right.

Wai Cheong ChoyHe believes focused events like Casual Connect are the most productive, allowing those in the industry to discuss opportunities together. Where better than Asia? As Choy claims, “Asia is where the money is!” He tells us Japan and Korea represent two of the top three markets for Google Play in terms of top revenue share. Choy sees massive, untapped potential in the Asian market for mobile games. “It is the fastest growing market both in online and mobile, and many of the PC online MMORPGs are moving towards mobile. As cheaper Smartphone devices are adopted in Southeast Asia, the potential for the games industry to grow there will be exponential.

Asia is where the money is!

To fellow game developers, Choy points out that user acquisition is only the beginning and a part of the entire marketing plan.. “User retention is the real challenge,” he says. “Always think about what is required in your product to make sure the users are satisfied and keep coming back for more. There are plenty of materials online to learn from. But it’s important to recognize the best basket for your eggs.

He believes acquiring users is not difficult when you have a budget, but acquiring high quality users can only happen when you choose the right partner to work with, one that can give you what you need. Choy encourages developers to connect with Metaps, “From marketing to user retention to monetizing, we are here for you. Just concentrate on what you do best, which is to develop great games!”