#KnowYourMarket: Mobile Gaming in Malaysia

KnowYourMarket: Mobile Gaming in Malaysia

We’re continuing our series called #KnowYourMarket, where we will be exploring the various countries and their mobile gaming community, their significant growth and unique cultural distinctions so game developers get at least a basic understanding about the mobile gaming market in a diverse space like Asia. In knowing, game developers and publishers will be more equipped and attuned to making calculated decisions when interacting with the various demographics that will discover their games.

For the past few blogs in this series, we covered the mobile gaming market in Indonesia, India, the Philippines, and Singapore. Today, we do a deep dive into Malaysia!

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia, split into two separate land masses that share borders with Thailand and the Borneo Island of Indonesia along with Brunei respectively. The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur, which is also the largest city in the country. The official language is Malay, and the country has a diverse population with a mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous ethnic groups. The Malaysian economy is said to be one of the most developed in Southeast Asia, with a mix of agriculture, manufacturing, and services industries.

Malaysia has made significant strides in developing its technology industry over the past few decades. The government has been investing heavily in developing the country’s digital infrastructure and promoting the growth of its technology industry. Thanks to the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), video games industry in Malaysia saw a rapid development. Because of this, their local gaming industry has been steadily growing in the past few years, giving rise to one of the fastest growing markets in Southeast Asia.

The video gaming industry in Malaysia is a massive industry and pastime in Malaysia that includes the production, sale, import/export, and playing of video games. In 2019, Malaysia is considered the 21st largest video game market in the world, with a total revenue of $633 million gained.

Mobile Gaming in Malaysia

Mobile gaming is particularly popular, with over 70% of gamers playing games on their smartphones. The availability of affordable smartphones, combined with a high average internet speed whether on mobile data or broadband connections. The overall gaming market in Malaysia is worth roughly 100 million USD, and a sizable 54% of that is attributed to mobile gaming. However, preference is still given to downloadable PC games and client MMOs or other console-based games.

Mobile Game Players in Malaysia

Men form the majority of Malaysian gamers but only by ten percent; women are nearly as enthusiastic about mobile gaming as men. The largest segment of gamers is made up of people aged between 25 to 34, closely followed by gamers aged between 35 and 44, and then younger gamers aged 18 to 24. Older gamers are only few and far in between, with the most interest in gaming coming from the younger segments of the population. The Malaysian audience seems to have common preferences with audiences from other Asian countries. Games like Players Unknown BattleGrounds (PUBG) and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang are the most popular games played on mobile.

Further, there seems to be a difference in game preferences between Android users and iOS users. For instance, gambling games like Slotomania and Zynga Poker are placed on the lists of top games played by Android users, but their presence is nearly non-existent for iOS users.

Game Development in Malaysia

The Malaysian population is highly conservative and religious, which has led several foreign game developers to edit or completely change the content that is featured in their games. In the case of RPG games or MMOs, there have been several instances of changing character costumes or other aspects of the story to adhere to existing social norms.

However, these restrictions have not deterred game developers from localizing their game content and publishing a version of their games that is more suitable to the Malaysian public. Besides, these versions are also published in other countries with similarly conservative audiences, which makes such projects worthwhile investments.

Aside from foreign companies, game developers based in Malaysia are also trying to make a place for themselves within both the local and global market. And they’ve made strides with this, with Malaysia being the home of the first and only Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios in ASEAN region, known as the Malaysia Studio for the Southeast Asia region and served as technical support studio for video game development. It’s led by Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, former MDEC Vice President of Digital Creative Content Division. Throughout his career, he’s been involved in organizations such as the MSC Malaysia Animation and Creative Content Center (MAC3), Rhythm & Hues Malaysia, the Oscar-winning Visual Effects studio.

Malaysia has a huge potential to be the regional game hub in Southeast Asia, with the majority of game companies (61%) involved in the industry being game developers. 

And that concludes part five of our #KnowYourMarket series! Tune in to the next entry as we cover the country of Thailand!

Are you a Malaysian mobile game developer? Tell us about your experience developing your game in your market! Use #KnowYourMarketSlab in social media or tag slab in your post! We’d love to know your story working in one of the largest gaming markets in Southeast Asia.

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Mars Zarate

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