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every+one, Trends, Featured

Gaming: How VR/AR will turn Singapore into a gaming hub

In only a few decades, video games have gone from a niche and expensive hobby to a highly lucrative profession, with its own roster of high-profile events, sponsors, and superstars.

This is especially true in Asia, where the eSports sector is a rising economic force. Home to some of the world’s top-ranked eSport players, the region accounts for nearly half of the US$519 million in global eSports revenue for 2019. Mobile eSports games alone generated US$13.3 billion in 2019, 68% of global mobile esports games revenue.

As in many other sectors, Singapore is poised to drive the growth of eSports in Southeast Asia. With its strong internet infrastructure, high smartphone penetration, and established gaming facilities, Singapore is ideally positioned to become a major eSports hub for the region.

Our data shows that almost half of Singaporeans (49%) have played a video game in the last 12 months. Of those, most (46%) game a few times a week and 29% at least once a day. On a given month, 60% of Singaporean gamers spend S$500 on gaming (gaming apps, gaming hardware / consoles, computer games). A non-negligible proportion of Singaporean gamers (almost 20%) spends S$2,000 or more on gaming each month.

At 75%, mobile phones are the most popular gaming platform in Singapore, followed by laptops/PCs (49%) and tablets (30%). A resolutely mobile-first region, the rise of Asia’s gaming sector will undoubtedly come from mobile games. Games like ROV, Free Fire, and Mobile Legends have grown rapidly in the region, and have lowered the barrier of entry into eSports.

The sector will grow even further as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) become increasingly widespread. According to specialists, a major challenge for the region is the affordability and accessibility of VR/AR-enabled gadgets and peripherals. Projected to reach US$42.50 billion by 2025, the VR/AR gaming market will only grow once cheaper VR headsets and user-friendly AR platforms become widely available in Singapore and in emerging Asian markets.

* Data based on n=490, respondents who have played video games in the last 12 months