Niko Report Sheds Light on Mobile Gaming in Asia

A report released by data analytics firm Niko Partners sheds light on trends and developments from the world of mobile gaming in Asia. The report estimates that Asia has more than 1.2B mobile gamers, which is more than half of the total mobile gamers in the world. This report is the final part of a series of reports on the gaming and esports industries in Asia published by the firm. 

China: The Biggest Mobile Gaming Market in Asia in 2019.

The report suggests that China was the biggest mobile gaming market in Asia with over 657M mobile gamers. Approximately $18.5B was the estimated revenue from the mobile gaming market in China, nearly half of the total mobile gaming revenue from Asia. Honor of Kings, Peacekeeper Elite, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Strategy Edition were the three highest-grossing titles in the country in 2019. While mobile MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) such as Asktao and New Ghost were popular in the country, they have been replaced by competitive titles such as Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite  (A reworked version of PUBG MOBILE for China). 

Japan and South Korea:

Japan was the second biggest mobile gaming market in Asia, generating $11.6B in revenue. Titles that are more popular among mobile gamers in Japan are RPG (Role Playing Games) titles. Eight out of the top 10 mobile games in Japan were licensed versions of existing titles on the PC or console. 

South Korea’s adoption of 5G technology has resulted in greater adoption of mobile titles and the country generated $5.34B in revenue. The country’s existing gaming and tech-friendly culture has allowed videogames on all platforms to thrive and for the mobile, RPGs were the dominant genre. 


India has the second-largest mobile market in the world and has slowly but surely adopted the video gaming culture. Trends point to more and more gamers shifting from hyper-casual titles to more complex competitive ones. PUBG MOBILE, a game that is now banned in India and Free Fire were the highest-grossing titles in the country. Because of the higher penetration of phones with lower technical specs, “lite” versions of games such as PUBG MOBILE and low requirement games such as Free Fire have seen success, while high requirement titles such as Fortnite Mobile aren’t as popular. The popularity of PUBG MOBILE has paved the way for the shooter genre and titles such as Free Fire and Call of Duty: Mobile are reaping the benefits. Esports-friendly titles are also appearing in top 10 most played games lists indicating that the sector is showing steady growth and development. 

Southeast Asia:

Southeast Asia has the most engaged mobile internet users in the world with 90% of internet users accessing it via their phones. The report touches on the impact and influence of religion and culture and how it translates to video games. For example, local culture inspired in-game events and regional holiday-based activations have been a big hit in the region.  

Southeast Asia is also a region where esports has driven popularity for mobile titles and names such as Free Fire, PUBG MOBILE, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Arena of Valor all feature in the list of most played games. Estimates suggest that prize pools in esports grew by 244% from 2018 to 2019 with help in terms of government support and policy. 

You can learn more about the report here.

Shounak Sengupta is a staff writer for AFK Gaming.

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