Thailand is currently the largest games market in Southeast Asia in terms of revenue. The Land of Smiles has 32 million gamers, including women, men, and children. As a result, the gaming industry is surging in growth and popularity as different gamer segments have been enjoying various games and gaming types in recent times.
Anticipating much of the same in 2024, we examine the different gaming segments contributing to the overall growth in an analysis of Thailand’s gaming market in 2024.
Online Gaming Market
Online gaming is a prevalent segment of Thailand’s video game market. A huge reason is the growing evolution of Thailand’s consumer preferences towards casual gaming. This growing preference, in turn, is due to the country’s growing internet penetration rate. After a ninth consecutive year of increasing access, the percentage of users with internet access is expected to grow from 76.54% in 2023 to 85.03% in 2028, an 8.5 percentage point increase. The introduction of 5G coverage and rising smartphone penetration rates also play vital roles.
Thais have recently liked casual and multiplayer online battle arena gaming titles. The most common casual games include Roblox, Tanghulu Master, Mobile Legends, and Garena ROV, among many others. Although these online games can be enjoyed on mobile, PC, and console, most Thai gamers prefer mobile gaming. As such, mobile gaming has also emerged as a major gaming market segment. This evolution is evident in the creation of mobile versions of some popular PC or console games.
Another important trend in Thailand’s online gaming market is the equal participation of both males and females. Nonetheless, their game preferences differ. For example, casual games like the popular Candy Crush game are more popular among women, even though 45% of the gaming population has played the game at least once. On the other hand, the popular soccer game FIFA is more prevalent among men.
Online Casino Gaming Market
Despite political divides, political parties are aligning to give casino legislation the required push to legalize casino gambling in the Thai kingdom. From the look of things, 2024 may be the year Thai casinos will see the light of day. Although Thai players have been playing games like slots at online platforms that are based overseas, they haven’t yet had local sites or land-based casino gaming options. According to Narathip Sukanankul, there are more than 1,000 slot games from all brands that you can play on Android, iOS, Windows, and other operating systems (source: https://www.business2community.com/th-th/gambling/slots-sites). So, it’s clear to see why many Thai players enjoy using sites based overseas.
However, the government is now working on building integrated resorts to strengthen its tourism destination dominance in the southeast-Asian region. They have concluded that the new casino infrastructure should be modeled towards Singapore’s. Although there are no official announcements, there is speculation that they could start with five integrated resorts. They are also looking to be more intentional about regulated online gaming. One major aim of these new efforts is the elimination of money outflow from the economy through gambling.
In line with these developments, projections reveal that the kingdom’s online casino market could generate €190.30 million in revenue in 2024. From that year onward, the market is expected to grow at an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 5.40% to reach €234.90 million in revenue by 2028.
Projected to generate US$ 1,104 million in revenue by 2024, Thailand’s video game market is experiencing a surge in popularity. Through its Digital Economy and Society (DES) ministry, the Thai government is developing a program to support local game development. The program aims to help the population develop the necessary skills for game development.
At the moment, millions of Thais are enjoying a large amount of video games. Consequently, Thailand is Southeast Asia’s fourth-largest video game market and the 19th-largest globally. The video games industry represents an umbrella term that includes other sub-segments like console, PC, mobile, and online games. However, these sub-segments have grown big enough to be considered standalone portions of the gaming markets. Further analysis of each one will be provided below.
ESports Gaming Market
In 2021, Esports became officially recognized as the 14th professional sport in Thailand. The e-sports gaming market in Thailand includes three major segments, namely:
- Game creation and distribution
- Professional gaming
- Event organization
Since its recognition, the industry has experienced substantial governmental support and massive development of professional teams. Traditional businesses have also been looking to expand into the space. Likewise, startups are making moves to capitalize on the growing demand. However, the most concrete interests have been from telecommunications giants.
Nonetheless, obvious challenges like the high hardware costs associated with PC gaming and huge capital requirements for game development have slowed down progress. Local businesses are now offering support for budding players and teams through sponsorships. On other fronts, educational institutions like Bangkok University are creating Esports clubs to improve player skills and competitiveness.
Despite the barriers, Esports is big in Thailand.
In the early 2000s, when online gaming first boomed, many Thai players formed teams to compete in international contests. However, it was a niche market at this time. Fast-forward a few years to 2024, and Thailand boasts some of the world’s top esports professionals. In addition, the country has organized and overseen popular international gaming events like the Overwatch World Cup, Garena World 2019, and the Dota 2 Asia Championships, further signifying huge growth potential.
Per industry estimates, successful professional gamers can earn THB five million annually. Common Thai esports game titles in 2024 include League of Legends and mobile games like Clash of Clans.
Mobile Gaming Market
95% of Thailand gamers play on Mobile, indicating a boom in the mobile game industry. This percentage of gamers is expected to generate $ US 0.63 billion in 2024. By 2027, that figure is set to increase, considering the 6.92% CAGR that’ll see users increase to 6.7 million.
Understanding why mobile gaming is so popular in Thailand isn’t rocket science. Firstly, major app stores, such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store, give Thai players access to freemium games and paid app downloads. Considering the surging internet penetration rate and adoption of mobile devices, mobile games have become very affordable for a sizable population of Thais. Thus, mobile games are very accessible and affordable in Thailand.
Due to the growing demand, there are currently 422 Thai mobile game developers on the Google Play Store. This population has built 1,468 out of the 452,668 mobile games on that platform. The consumer population has been true to their indigenous games, as each racked up approximately 689.91 thousand downloads. As a sign of their love for these mobile free-to-play games, 95% of Thai gamers have spent money purchasing in-game items and virtual goods in the past year.
In 2024, Thailand’s gaming market is expected to continue its upward trajectory.
All major sectors like the video game. E-sports, online casinos, mobile, and online gaming markets are all projected to increase users and revenue. Consequently, startups, traditional companies, professional gamers, and the government are all set to invest and profit considerably.
Huge opportunities await.