Vietnam- or should we say Viet “Flappy Bird” Nam

Stop 3 of the GameFounders’ Big Asia Tour took us to Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as a lot of people still call it, in Vietnam. This year Vietnam celebrated the passing of 40 years from the end of the Vietnam War and there is also reason to rejoice on the smartphone market. Newzoo estimates smartphone games segment to see an impressive CAGR of 87.7%, the fastest in Southeast Asia, becoming the biggest segment in Vietnam by 2017.

However, gamers today are still drawn more to a computer than a phone screen. Payment is typically via SMS, scratch cards or carrier billing, but this will only continue for a short while as Apple has identified Vietnam as one of its high growth markets. The users are shifting from internet cafes to homes and this opens a lot of doors for new game developers as well as established studios, like Gloops.

Everyone we talked to refer to Flappy Bird as a double-edged sword. It did give encouragement to a large number of young game developers to establish studios and produce original IP, but on the other side created a situation where the number and quality of developers available on the market is diminishing fast. University programmes are producing labour force with a skill level, but with no real business experience in a game company, the local developers are not realising their full potential.


The country has high skill level in 3D art and modelling with Glassegg creating a training program used by several universities and producing over 2500 artists to the market since the early 2000s. The skill level of developers varies, salaries of great developers are rising and available people with great Unity skills are rare.

There are around 20 established game studios, with the rest being indies and student groups. The new teams are mainly developing for mobile, which is a wise choice taking into account the rapid growth in the number of phones. Local organisations include IGDA Vietnam and The Vietnam Game Developers’ Network. Local events are growing in numbers with the largest event being Mobile Game Asia held in July.

GameFounders’ Big Asia Tour included sessions by Evan Spytma, Regional GM for SEA, Oceania and India for Unity Technologies; Sho Sato, Chief Analyst at Media Create, Le Giang Anh, CEO and Founder, Joy Entertainment, Tan Yean Yeen of MDec and Andrew Walker, COO and Partner at GameFounders.

The application deadline for GameFounders’ Fall 2015 batch is June 20th and we hope to see many applications from Vietnam!

 For pictures from the event in Ho Chi Minh City, please click HERE

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