It’s no secret that Vietnam has been on the radar of the largest investors in the world for quite some time. The World Bank classed the country as the fastest-growing economy on the planet in 2019, thanks to growth rates of 7.31%, spurred by “robust domestic demand” and a growing export market.
As Vietnamese consumers grow ever-wealthier and increasingly become the target of global companies, interest in local consumer trends has risen markedly.
One area of the Vietnamese consumer market that shows particular promise is the gaming market, a $136 million a year industry that represents the largest gaming market in South East Asia. If you’re interested in what the future holds for this dynamic market, read on to find out the emerging trends that are driving its growth.
Demographic and Technological Strengths
There are a number of emerging demographic and technological trends in Vietnam that point to its attractiveness as a gaming industry investment destination. For one, the country is one of the youngest in the region, with more than half of the population being under the age of 25.
In addition, it is the fastest-growing market for smartphone penetration in the world. While smartphone penetration in Vietnam is currently at around 50% (rising to 70% in urban hubs such as HCMC and Hanoi, this figure is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade. As home broadband penetration continues to rise along similar lines, market conditions for gaming providers and investors will improve.
Rapid Emergence of Mobile Gaming
While there are many sub-sectors of the gaming industry competing for domestic customers in Vietnam, mobile is currently king. More than half of all gaming revenue in Vietnam is derived from mobile games, with the mobile gaming market experiencing a CAGR of 87.7%, which is the highest in South East Asia by far.
Many industry pundits will remember that Flappy Bird, which by some measures ranks among the most popular mobile games ever created, was made by a lone Vietnamese developer in his parent’s spare room in Hanoi. The most popular mobile games in Vietnam right now include PUBG Mobile, Clash of Clans, and Rise of the Kings, as well as a rising amount of Chinese content produced by big names such as Tencent and NetEase.
Increased Availability of Real-Money Online Gaming
Another trend that is becoming impossible to ignore is the rise of real-money gaming among Vietnamese players, particularly online casino games such as roulette, bingo, blackjack, and slots. Despite there being very few real-money gaming platforms operating in Vietnam just a few short years ago, there are now a wide variety of Vietnamese online gambling platforms providing games.
Such platforms allow Vietnamese players to gamble with local currency and use payment gateways that are widely accepted in Vietnam, such as OnePay, VNPay, and Momo. Given that lottery ticket sales in Vietnam currently represent $13 billion a year in revenue, while soccer betting alone generates $1 billion a year, the propensity of online casino games to take off in the near future is clearly high.
A Proliferation of Home-Grown Talent
Another development that signals the wealth of opportunities in Vietnam’s gaming market is the recent proliferation of home-grown developer talent that is increasingly forging partnerships with international investors. The biggest home-grown developers in Vietnam right now include VNG, VTC, FunTap, and Gamota. VNG is the most successful company right now, with three of their games currently among the top 10 titles in Vietnam’s mobile downloads market.
In addition, Vietnamese developers are finding increasing popularity overseas. Caravan War, developed by HCMC-based Hiker Games, topped the Android download charts in South Korea and China in 2018. Meanwhile, Tile Hop: EDM Rush, a game developed by Amanotes, briefly found itself in the top 10 most-downloaded free games in the United States last year. The future clearly looks bright for Vietnamese developers.
If you want to understand Vietnam’s booming gaming market, these are the trends to keep an eye on. Watch this space for more updates in the future.