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Mobile gaming through the pandemic and beyond

October 29, 2021

In 2020, gaming was at the forefront of the entertainment industry, growing rapidly with 2.7 billion gamers across the world. Gaming has witnessed a revolution with the advent of smartphones, with mobile gaming accounting for over 48% of overall revenues, quashing both console and PC gaming. In the first week of Q2 2020, weekly mobile game downloads broke records at over 1.2 billion, and weekly download levels remained at 1 billion on average throughout the quarter, up by 20% YoY.

Southeast Asia has become one of the most viable gaming markets around the globe. With the dominance of premium publishers, such as the SEA group (formerly known as Garena), mobile is poised to account for 69.4% of all gaming revenue in the region. Indonesia has emerged as a bright spot in the region, with even the government recognizing the revolution going so far as to host international e-sport competitions.

Understanding Southeast Asia's gamers

It is critical to ditch the notion that gaming is only popular among young men. It is equally popular among women and across age groups as well. Gaming is not only popular among Gen Z but is equally popular among consumers above the age of 25.

Southeast Asia logs on new usage trends emerge

As a result of the lockdowns, there was a 3.5x higher engagement within gaming apps during the daytime, leading to several engagement peaks per day during the initial phases of the lockdown.

What emerged first as a trend, resulted in a permanent shift in behavior that lasted beyond the initial phases of the lockdown, as we observed over a 2x growth in gaming app consumption year on year on average.

Mobile gaming = relaxation / entertainment

Mobile has democratized gaming, helping users to relax, unlike console gaming where competition and winning take top priority. With the rapid rise of in-app games, gaming has also become an avenue for folks to connect with friends and family, harboring a sense of community despite social distancing and lockdowns.

Unlike other countries where the majority play in short 10-minute spurts, Indonesians tend to play for a longer duration of up to 30-minutes or more at a time. With a wide variety of games available to them, Indonesians choose to play games that best suit the amount of time available to them, ensuring a permanent spot for mobile gaming in the daily lives of the average Southeast Asian.

What does this mean for advertisers?

As advertisers consider how they can leverage this explosive opportunity, they need to remember three easy takeaways:

Ditch the cliches: Understand who your audiences are and what motivates them do not typecast your target groups as users who might not be interested in gaming

Find the right fit: Build immersive experiences that delight users, be it through reward video ads, immersive interactive ads, or even playable ads

Just hit play: It’s important to test and experiment to find your brand’s sweet spot. Avoid sitting on the sidelines and explore all that gaming has to offer

Sudhanshu Saxena
Director, DSPs and Supply Partnerships, Southeast Asia


Southeast Asia
mobile gaming