But winning in Asia’s booming online gaming market isn’t child’s play
Whether you love them or loathe them, online games are impossible to ignore – especially in the Asia Pacific region. According to the games analyst NewZoo, last year (2014) nearly 60% of the Asia Pacific’s 1.39 billion-strong online population were active gamers and they generated a staggering US$36.8 billion in revenue.
To bring this in context, playing brands such as King Digital Entertainment, the maker of “Candy Crush Saga” has taken the gaming world by storm and is now played by 93m people across Facebook, smartphones and tablets every single day, including 1 million daily active players of Candy Crush Saga in Hong Kong, which is equivalent to one-seventh of its population.
Globally the US is still No.1, with annual games revenues of over US$20.4 billion. But, the Asia Pacific is catching up fast, with China recording a hefty US$17.8 billion, followed by Japan at US$12.2 billion and Korea notching up US$3.3 billion. Australia, with its relatively small 23 million people, still managed to capture the No.4 spot in the APAC games table with over US$1.1 billion in annual revenues.
The industry is growing rapidly, particularly in well-connected countries such as Singapore, China, Korea, Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Even emerging countries, such as Vietnam, are games hotbeds, attracting upwards of US$230 million annually.
It’s not just the big international names that are benefitting. Recently the APAC/Singapore game development and publisher Garena announced that it had become a US$1 billion company.
However, there is more to achieving online games glory in the Asia Pacific region than inventing a hyperactive new cartoon character or a faster way to mow down hordes of aliens or zombies.
Content is certainly important – according to ESA 2014 Essential Fact report, consumers spent over $21.53 billion in 2014, and of which, $6.14 billion are spent on accessories and hardware and around $15.39 billion are spent on content, taking 71.5% of overall spending!
But the key to success for any game developer and publisher is performance, which can literally make or break the user experience of consuming content.
With online games, the biggest experience killer is latency. Sluggish network performance slows everything down. And that can be deeply frustrating for gamers, who may drop out and leave the game. Worse still, any negative online commentary via social media sites can easily go viral, taking others with them and discouraging new players from signing up.
Poor network performance also impacts the operational aspects of running a games enterprise. This is because games publishers and developers have to deliver large installation files and software patches to ensure that games updates take place smoothly. This is so important, that it is usually done via a dedicated CDN – content delivery network (stay tuned for more on CDN in an upcoming blog).
Connectivity is also a factor in achieving other critical criteria such as reaching myriad users in multiple locations – in countries, across regions and throughout the world. The market is so large and dispersed, that to be successful brands must almost by-definition operate globally, which makes choosing the right partner a mission critical decision.
For an increasing number of games industry brands in Asia as well as around the world, the answer to creating the infrastructure they need in order to launch, support and scale up to support the region’s growing game-player community is Equinix.
That goes beyond merely meeting requirements for cloud connectivity through Equinix’s flagship IBX. It includes direct connectivity with the CDN of their choice for fast, efficient and reliable file delivery.
Equinix provides the highest network density infrastructure in the entire APAC region. For example, in Singapore alone, more than 200 last mile network providers are connected to the Singapore data centres, providing instant high-quality connectivity.
And Equinix has more than 100 data centres located in 33 markets, including two brand new facilities – SG3 in Singapore and ME1 in Melbourne – that opened in April. This means that when a game proves popular, scaling up and pushing out across the region is fast and cost-effective.
Then there is the Equinix Cloud Exchange, where customers can get direct access to other cloud service providers and improve their connectivity. It not only lowers latency, it can also drive down operational overheads such as the cost of compute resources. Not to mention offering an opportunity to augment their digital and development workflow with a hybrid cloud option.
And, of course with access to a larger pool of hosting and connectivity services, games companies can improve their products and differentiate their brand. For example, a developer could easily publish live video feeds from their online games – almost like a new kind of reality TV show – to excite potential players and quite possibly turn the interactive gaming experience in to a brand new spectator sport.
Add to that mix access to world-class CDN providers for the delivery of game files and updates, and it’s easy to see why many of the world’s most ambitious online games companies are including Equinix in their plans for global domination. Especially in the booming, white-hot Asia Pacific online gaming market that already includes more than 830 million active gamers, and is growing at a phenomenal 15.2% year-on-year.
But, that’s not the end of the story. With the rise of the gaming industry, marketers in the digital ecosystem are also exploring different and potentially even bigger opportunities to win the attention of consumers’ and grow their businesses. Things like real-time bidding, which is becoming the new norm in the advertising industry.
We’ll be covering this and Equinix’s Ad-IX ecosystem for video advertising in detail in an upcoming blog. So watch this space!