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October 4, 2023
In the news

Survey reveals key gaming trends in the east and west

Factors include differences and similarities in top titles, in-game spending, and play duration among users in 9 countries, including Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR: Recent research into gaming trends has revealed unique differences and key similarities between mobile gamers in Malaysia and around the world.

The survey, conducted in June by Coda Payments, involved 3,600 respondents from nine countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico and the United States. The findings reveal that “battle royale” and “multiplayer online battle arena”-type titles are the most popular genres among Asian gamers.

Within these genres, “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang”, “PUBG Mobile”, and “Free Fire” emerged the top three; in contrast, those in the west prefer “Call of Duty: Mobile”, “Free Fire”, and football favourite “FIFA”.

In Malaysia, “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang”, “PUBG Mobile”, and “Call of Duty: Mobile” rank in the top three. Published by Moonton, “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang” has more than 80 million monthly active players and is a hot favourite across all age groups and genders.

Users around the world also differ by what motivates their gameplay. In the west, the top motivator is the design of a game in terms of levels, modes, and maps.

For most of the above games, the different modes enable gamers to vary their play by offering different perspectives, which can range from first-person or battle mode to other specialised modes such as team play or “Humans vs AI”. This enables gamers to play with their friends or on their own to improve their skills.

Maps are also an important in-game feature that enhances the experience: in popular mobile battle games like “Free Fire” and “PUBG Mobile”, they aid player navigation, help locate resources, and allow for planning, strategy, and the tracking of shrinking play zones.

Meanwhile, gamers in Asian countries are motivated by the frequency of collectibles and the customisable features of a character, which are also key drivers for their in-game purchases.

Money, motivation and more

When it comes to spending, over 90% of gamers are willing to pay for purchases such as in-game objects and currency. But there are some differences in what they spend on: gamers in the east are more likely to spend on limited-time event items, characters, or pets – signalling a desire for exclusivity.

In the west, they are likely to spend money on unlocking more levels, modes or maps, indicating a need for variety.

The motivators of spending for Malaysian gamers also vary by age. Those in the 18-24 age group value the opportunity to amass collectibles in a game or buy items or characters.

The average amount spent among young females in Malaysia more than doubles that of males, suggesting a new generation of girl gamers in the country. (Envato Elements pic)

For instance, in “Mobile Legend: Bang Bang”, gamers can purchase items such as borders, skins, heroes, diamonds, and Battle Points, which can customise or aid their gameplay.

Among the 25-34 age group, there is a more competitive element, with the desire to advance to new levels, or buy additional lives or moves, being their top motivator.

Payment preferences for game-related spending are yet another area of distinction between gamers across the world. E-wallets reign supreme in Asian countries, while in the west, credit and debit cards still dominate. In Malaysia, some of the popular e-wallets are GrabPay, TnG, Boost, and MAE.

On average, Malaysians spent RM121 over a three-month period. While this is higher than the Indonesian and Filipino average of RM114 and RM65, respectively, it pales in comparison to the Thais, who spent an average of RM270 in three months.

Another interesting trend for Malaysian gamers is that the average amount spent among younger females (RM127) more than doubles that of males (RM54), indicating a new generation of invested female gamers in the country.

Furthermore, the time people spend gaming on smartphones varies between countries. On average, gamers in the east spend more time on their phones, with 40% playing more than 16 hours a week, compared with just 33% playing for the same duration in the west.

In Malaysia, the number of smartphone gamers (38%) is considerably lower than in Thailand (45%), Indonesia (43%) and the Philippines (40%), but still higher than Brazil (36%), Mexico (33%) and the US (30%).

Finally, gamers said they are generally inclined to try a new game because they like the genre or have read good reviews about it. Their go-to source for information on games is generally word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family.

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