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August 24, 2023
International markets

East vs West? Game on! Coda reveals gamer habits and preferences around the world

New consumer research commissioned by Coda, the global leader in  content monetization solutions for gaming and digital publishers, reveals unique differences  and key similarities between mobile gamers* around the world.  

The survey found that battle royale and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) were the  most popular genres in the East**. Within these genres, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, PUBG  Mobile and Free Fire emerged as the top three games in the East. In contrast, gamers in the  West*** preferred Call of Duty®: Mobile, Free Fire and football favorite, FIFA. 

Gamers in East versus West also differ in what motivates their play. Gamers in the East are  most motivated by collectibles and character customization, which are also key drivers for  their in-game purchases. Meanwhile in the West, a key motivator for gamers is the design of  a game in terms of the levels, modes and maps available.  

For many of these popular games, different modes enable players to vary their play with the  option of playing from different perspectives, which can sometimes range from first-person  mode or battle mode to other specialized modes such as team play or Humans vs AI. This  enables gamers to play on their own to improve their skills or play with their friends as a  team.  

Maps are also an important in-game feature that enhance the experience for gamers. In  popular battle games like Free Fire and PUBG Mobile, they are useful as they play a crucial  role in aiding player navigation, location of resources, planning and strategy, and also  tracking of shrinking play zones.  

Another similarity between gamers in the East and West is that they are motivated to try  out a new game because they are already a fan of the game genre and have read good  reviews on it. Their go-to source for information on games would generally be word-of mouth and recommendations from friends and family in addition to YouTube as well as  gaming news media. 

When it comes to spending, over 90% of gamers are willing to pay for in-game purchases.  However, gamers in the East and West differ in their spending habits. Those in the East are  more likely to spend money on limited-time event items, characters, or pets, while gamers  in the West gamers are more likely to spend money on unlocking more levels, modes, or maps. The West also spends twice as much on direct purchases as the East, with the average  West gamer spending USD72.47 and the average East gamer spending less than half of that  amount (USD30.70) per month. The stronger currency in the West, for example the USD  versus the Indonesian Rupiah, Malaysian Ringgit and Philippine Peso, means that a dollar  goes further in the West, making it more affordable for gamers to make in-game purchases.  Another interesting finding is that female gamers in the West spend an average of USD22.93  more than their male counterparts. 

Payment preferences for game-related spending are also another area of distinction  between gamers across the world. E-wallets reign supreme^ amongst gamers in the East.  Meanwhile in the West, credit and debit cards still dominate. The need to cater to diverse  payment preferences amongst gamers is something that Coda understands all too well,  which is why it now accepts over 300 secure payment methods in more than 60 markets.  

East vs West? Game on! Coda reveals gamer habits and preferences around the world

The time people spend gaming on smartphones^^ also varies between countries. On average,  gamers in the East spend longer on their phones gaming than those in the West, with 40%  playing more than 16 hours a week in the East compared to just 33% playing for the same  amount of time in the West.  

In the East, gamers in Thailand spent the most amount of time gaming on their  smartphones, with 45% spending more than 16 hours a week, compared to 43% spending  the same amount of time in Indonesia, and 40% in the Philippines. In the West, gamers in  Brazil were the most active gaming on their smartphones, with 36% spending more than 16  hours a week gaming compared to 33% spending the same amount of time gaming in  Mexico, and 30% in the United States. Of both East and West countries, Thailand is the  country spending the longest time gaming on smartphones.  

Gamers also value variety and convenience which is why Codashop, an independent  marketplace or ‘webshop’ for digital gaming content, is the preferred choice for over 10  million monthly gamers worldwide. Coda currently partners with over 300 of the world’s  leading game publishers – including Activision Blizzard, Bytedance, Electronic Arts (EA),  HoYoverse, Riot Games, Tencent and Zynga – to help them unlock new revenue by  efficiently reaching paying players through seamless out-of-app content monetization  solutions. 

In June 2023, Coda commissioned research into the gaming habits and preferences amongst  its customers which revealed differences in the titles and types of games enjoyed by  gamers, their motivations for gaming, drivers of in-game purchases, and the importance of  exclusivity in games. The research was carried out with over 3,600 respondents in total  across Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and the  United States of America.  

Coda is laser-focused on providing the best monetization solutions to publishers and  exceptional experiences for customers. The Coda Consumer Survey provides valuable  insights into gamers’ preferences for pay and play which help us continue to partner for  success and deliver best-in-class solutions that help publishers grow revenue and margins  around the world.  


*Gamers defined as mobile game players who play at least 1 hour of mobile games per week 

**East defined as Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia

 ***West defined as US, Mexico and Brazil

^Except for South Korea, where credit and debit cards still dominate

^^Android devices only

Survey details:

-Coda commissioned Qualtrics to conduct this survey in June 2023

-Markets : Market here refers to those that formed part of this commissioned  research i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, US, Brazil,  Mexico and Egypt 

- A total of 3600 respondents participated in the survey, with a minimum of 400  participants surveyed per market 

-Respondents ranged between 13 to 34 years old. Where respondents were minors (under 18 years old), express consent was obtained from their parents or guardians.

New consumer research commissioned by Coda, the global leader in  content monetization solutions for gaming and digital publishers, reveals unique differences  and key similarities between mobile gamers* around the world.  

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