Thailand: Land of Adventure and Opportunity
Stop number 6 brought us to Thailand and the city of Bangkok. A city filled with culture and technology. A mixture of new and old, where the shrines mix with markets and malls.
Thailand itself is a both an established and growing market for games, 47% of the population are 25-34 years old and with credit card adoption rising. Thailand has the highest revenues in Southeast Asia with over 50% made through PC online games.
Thailand’s game development community is thriving with a healthy indie scene. Bangkok is by far the largest gaming cluster with 30 game studios, although perhaps only a small number has over 5 people working with them. However, there is a great deal of variety within Thailand’s scene with developers covering a wide breadth of platforms and genres across mobile, PC and console.
For mobile development, Android reigns supreme with 60% of the Thai market. Mobile revenues are still hampered by problems with local payments, but smartphone ownership is high. Also, Thailand boasts comparatively high Average Revenue Per Paying User comparing favorably to the US.
Thailand has also produced a large number of PC online games for its native market, creating a still thriving internet café scene. There have even been a small number of console games appearing on both Sony and Microsoft platforms.
While the development scene is growing, support is mixed from local universities. Many university courses are not deemed credible by experienced local game studios and more help is required to improve the overall quality of game design and programming graduates.
Industry associations are also small with only a modestly sized IGDA chapter. Other local associations are more focused on online communities such as the Thai Game Developers Corner.
We had our own adventures in getting to the event. Bangkok traffic and taxis saw to that. However, despite our vehicular trials the event went off without a hitch at offices of PlayLab.
We were well supported with speakers with Johannes Reuben of Unity3D, Yan Tean Teen of MDeC, Jacob Lykkegard Petersen, CEO and Founder of PlayLab, and GameFounders’ own Andrew Walker.
We had several local developers pitching – the highlight was a mobile MMO FPS game designed for ESports and playable on tablets as well as phones.
We thoroughly enjoyed our short stay in Thailand, and we hope that we can return soon. In the meantime, we are looking forward to seeing some fantastic applications from what is an extremely talented game development community.