How Popular is Online Gaming in Asia?

Online gaming in Asia has skyrocketed in the past decade, with multiple Asian countries ranking in the top spot for total players, revenue and time spent online. In 2018, it was estimated that 71.4 billion U.S. dollars was earned from the region alone, which is more than twice the gaming market in North America. China, Japan, and South Korea top in the region, with China reaching 214.44 billion yuan (31.42 billion U.S). Image Source: PixaBay

Rise of Online Gaming Popularity

Japan has the second-largest gaming market in Asia and houses gaming giants like Namco Bandai and Nintendo. Since January 2019, the country has reached 17.715 billion U.S. in gaming revenue and will continue to improve with years to come. South Korea however, comes in third with 5.8 billion U.S. South Korea has an extensively popular gaming culture in general. It’s common to invite friends over for a night of watching eSports or competitive gaming.

Mobile Gaming

Mobile games in Asia reached a total of 35.4 billion USD, while China reached 164.6 billion yuan in 2018. Japan brings up the rear in 2016 with 5 billion Japanese yen. East Asia isn’t the only large gaming market though, India has had an impressive growth in gaming as well, with the mobile revolution evolving over the past few years. Smartphones have made an impact on the way Indians play games, with the emergence of online casino websites like Such platforms have given players the chance to gamble straight from their phones.

Age Ranges

The age range for gaming has remained low in places like India, where the primary demographic is between ages 10-24. This is mainly due to Internet access being available across India very recently in the Northern continent. Places like China, Japan and South Korea actually have older markets, where the average players are in their 30s. Unlike India, the Chinese, Japanese and Korean gaming market has been around significantly longer. Younger gamers that grew up with gaming have kept this hobby throughout their adult lives.


The eSports industry is expected to grow over the next ten years, with a projected reach of 1.79 billion U.S. in 2022. Although eSports is seen as entertainment, it’s quickly becoming a profession and a way of life for some talented, young gamers and aids the online gaming industry. Children who see eSports starts on TV will want to be like their heroes on television.

Annual eSports pools that have amounted to 121.1 million U.S. dollars mostly accounts from sponsorships, while only a fraction is from tickets and merchandise. Awareness of eSports definitely contributes to the popularity of eSports. In 2015, only 809 million people knew the term, while in 2019 that figure has doubled. A total of 2.4 billion hours are spent watching eSPorts worldwide per year, a vast majority of those hours are viewed in Asia.

The Chinese Market

The largest gaming market in Asian is China by a wide margin. By 2023 there will be an estimated 354 million PC gamers playing online games in China, which is more than the population of the United States. Despite massive government regulations, the Chinese online gaming market continues to thrive.

Twenty-four per cent of Steam users have changed their language preferences to simplified Chinese and remains the most significant download traffic source for Steam. Not just that, but their culture is adapting to these numbers as well. China has the most internet cafes in Asia, totalling over 138k. eSports continues to drive growth in the area, with 41.4% of total PC online games revenue accounting for eSport waters.

To put these numbers into perspective, the second-biggest gaming market is North America. North America only totalled $30.4 billion in revenue in 2018. This includes the entire US gaming industry (PC, mobile, and console). China’s PC gaming industry alone accounted for $15.21 billion in 2018, with Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds accounting for $920 million in revenue.

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