Pandemic, 5G drive up gaming interest

Pandemic, 5G drive up gaming interest

Economic malaise caps user spending

The global number of gamers has surged 36.9% since the outbreak.
The global number of gamers has surged 36.9% since the outbreak.

The pandemic and 5G roll-out are expected to drive up the number of gamers in Thailand, though economic woes still weigh on their spending per person, says one of the promoters of Thailand Game Show 2020, scheduled for next month.

"The pandemic ushers in positive aspects and challenges in the game industry," said Torboon Puangmaha, managing director for digital and media platform Online Station under True Digital Group, which is a key supporter of the show.

The global number of gamers has surged 36.9% since the outbreak, helping the home entertainment business, while game downloads have jumped 20%.

There is no official data on the segment in Thailand, but it is likely to follow the global trend, Mr Torboon said.

This is a challenging year for the country's game industry, as gamers' per-person spending is likely to fall in line with the economic woes.

Mr Torboon expects the whole gaming market in Thailand to rise as the industry takes a smaller hit from the economic impact than other sectors.

Thailand has 27.8 million gamers, or 41% of the population of 69 million. The industry's market value is expected to reach 27 billion baht in 2020, up 15% from 2019.

"In the worst-case scenario, the gaming industry would grow 10% following the postponement of the launches of new PC and console games," Mr Torboon said.

Thai gamers spend an average of 940 baht per person per year. Gamers aged 25-34 are the most willing to pay for games.

In Thailand, mobile games account for 71% of the gaming industry's revenue, followed by PC (22%) and console (7%). At the global level, mobile games represent 49%, trailed by console (28%) and PC (23%).

Mr Torboon said mobile games are expected to increase momentum due to rising smartphone penetration, while console games will also thrive due to the upcoming launch of new game consoles, such as Sony PlayStation 5.

He said cloud-based games are also projected to gather steam in the next few years, thanks to heavy investment in the segment by mobile operators True and Advanced Info Service.

Thailand Game Show 2020 will be held as a hybrid offline and online event Nov 14-15 at Siam Paragon's Paragon Hall.

The space will be divided into two zones: one for a stage show with a 100-baht ticket for entry and another for 24 booths of game accessories vendors.

The show lets gamers meet game idols, casters and cosplayers.

Ticket bookings can be made through the QueQ mobile app.

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