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South East Asia’s potential untapped by Western developers

Why Western developers are missing out on a major growth opportunity

South East Asia’s potential untapped by Western developers

Western developers could be missing out on a serious opportunity to monetise in South East Asia, according to Juice Cubes developer PlayLab.

Speaking at GDC Europe, Thomas Andreasen implied that poor localization efforts for games released in the region could mean game developers are leaving money on the table.

Growing up fast

Explaining why South East Asia remains PlayLab’s area of focus, Andreasen laid out a number of statistics suggesting the region is primed for growth in the coming years.

Boasting 525 million players, Andresean reported that countries such as Thailand and Malaysia had seen their indexed growth in download and revenues double in the period 2013-2014.

Despite the fact that downloads in the region matched South Korea and revenues were four times lower, the growth of nations like Indonesia, which boast hundreds of millions of players and burgeoning e-commerce infrastructure, suggests there could be an opportunity for Western developers.

Localisation woes

However, a failure to localise their games to suit the market has cost them money.

Despite the fact that Western titles account for 41 of the 50 most downloaded games in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Thailand and Vietnam, only 20 Western games make it into the top 50 highest grossing games in those nations.

“Consumers are currently willing to spend a lot on Korean, Japanese and Chinese games and the reason we believe this is happening because there isn’t enough content localized for those markets,” said Andreasen.

Therefore, there should be a strong incentive for Western developers to make the necessary localisation efforts to help take advantage of a potential growth market.


Staff Writer

George Osborn (no, not that one) has been ensnared by PocketGamer.biz to write words for them on pain of death/in return for money. He works with the events team to produce pitch perfect editorial for Pocket Gamer's ever-expanding events schedule, as well as working on advice features and articles to help game developers make the most of mobile.

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