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Want to advertise in the Asia Pacific gaming industry? Here’s what you need to know

By Natalia Vasilyeva, VP of Marketing



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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November 13, 2020 | 5 min read

Are you aware that the Asia Pacific gaming industry is worth no less than double the US market, its nearest competitor? Or that, in 2019, Asia Pacific generated $72.2bn in gaming revenue, accounting for 52% of the global revenue!

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Understanding the booming Asia Pacific segment is key for advertisers that aim to capitalize on this enormous, largely untapped market. Following are some of the important facts advertisers need to know about this region’s gaming market as they consider their in-game advertising strategy:

  1. Asia Pacific is the largest gaming community in the world, with China, Japan and South Korea leading the market. In China, 64% of the population consider themselves gamers, compared to the next largest global market, the US, where only 43% of the population play regularly.

  2. It’s important to know this audience and what they care about. A recent report by Digimind, the social media monitoring and competitive intelligence company, warned that while some brands have been successful in advertising to this market, others misfired by being too intrusive. (Note that Anzu’s seamlessly blended in-game advertising platform can be a solution to this issue, as it respects gameplay by being non-intrusive!) The report recommends that advertisers work with key opinion leaders and gaming influencers to get a strong read on the market as it relates to specific brands.

  3. Although Asia Pacific gamers spend significant time on console and PC, the mobile market is strongest. Asian gamers spend $12bn yearly on mobile games and Japan and South Korea top the global list of average game spend per user. In fact, Newzoo research shows that Japanese gamers spend more than 1.5 times the amount on mobile games as their North American counterparts and 2.5 times that of their European peers. Newzoo also predicts that, by 2021, China’s mobile games market will be responsible for as much as 70% of the global game industry’s revenue.

  4. Southeast Asia is an emerging powerhouse region not to be ignored. And esports, in particular, is on the rise there. According to Newzoo, esports grew by 22% year-over-year in Southeast Asia in 2019. At the end of last year, there were 154.3 million PC gamers in the area – projected to grow to 186.6 million by 2023 – and 95% of those gamers were taking part in esports in one way or another. Income from the overall PC and mobile gaming market in Southeast Asia is projected to increase by 60% over the next three years.

  5. The global esports industry is currently $1.1bn, showing a year-on-year growth from 2019 of 15.7%. Three-quarters of the revenue comes from media rights and sponsorships. Over 50% of esport’s biggest fans are located in the Asia-Pacific region (with Europe coming in second at 16%). Esports is so big in China that, in 2018, the Chinese Ministry of Education added esports and gaming into its postgraduate and vocational curriculum. And, in Korea, esports have been broadcast on television for over 20 years!

As much as the gaming and esports industry presents a tremendous opportunity worldwide, it is especially true in Asia Pacific, home of the largest and most revenue-generating audience. With such a responsive group, advertisers shouldn’t miss out on the potential for both endemic and non-endemic advertising. Determining what works here – where the gamers are, how they spend their money, what brands they are interested in, how they prefer to interact with those brands during gameplay – both as a region as a whole and for each individual country with its unique characteristics will be key to capturing Asia Pacific gamers’ attention.

Learn more about this exciting market: Anzu co-founder and chief exec Itamar Benedy will be discussing APAC opportunities at a number of upcoming panel discussions for MMA Impact Vietnam (19 November), Digital Marketing Asia (24 November), and MMA Impact Indonesia (25 November). But first, don’t miss the action of the dramatic game show-style panel at the upcoming The Drum Digital Summit on 13 November, where Itamar will compete against other marketing leaders to see who knows the most about gaming.

Natalia Vasilyeva is vice-president of marketing at


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