E-sports is a lucrative industry. It is a field that is estimated to have generated over USD 1 billion in revenue globally in 2021. Indonesia is an important e-sports market in Southeast Asia, especially since e-sports was recognized as an official sport last year by the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Indonesian Sports Council. This means video games are part of official competitions, including the National Games, or PON.
Ten e-sports games will be part of the 2022 Southeast Asian Games that will be held in May in Hanoi, Vietnam. Indonesia has set sights to win five golds in the event. E-sports will also make its debut at this year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, in September, with medals being awarded in eight events.
To map out the potential of gaming in Indonesia, Southeast Asia communications and consultancy agency Vero partnered with market research firm Decision Lab to publish a report titled “Gaming and e-sports in Indonesia: A new arena for brands.” The research involved a survey of 470 Indonesian gamers as well as e-sports streamers and spectators. Here are the five key takeaways.
#1. Female gamers are moving into the spotlight
More than 52 million people play e-sports titles in Indonesia. The gender split between men and women is relatively balanced—47% are women and 53% are men. As more women became competitors, PUBG Mobile hosted an official women-only national championship in the country in 2019 and 2020.
#2. Mobile Legends and PUBG Mobile are the most popular games
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are the most popular e-sports format in Indonesia. This type of game is highly competitive, requiring problem-solving skills and, if the players choose to participate in round after round, a high degree of endurance. Also, it encourages interactions between gamers, injecting a highly social element. MOBA games can be intensely competitive, and appeal to players and spectators who enjoy vying for the top slot or watching players do so.
Mobile Legends is the most played and watched game in Indonesia, followed by PUBG Mobile. The two games flip positions as the most streamed e-sports titles. Dota 2 is the third most watched and streamed game. Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) is the third most played game, followed by Dota 2 and Counter-Strike.
#3. Video games are a medium for social interaction
Among the respondents, 62% identify as “casual gamers” who play five to ten hours per week. E-sports games also often function as social platforms, as 61% of respondents said they like to interact with other games via in-game voice and text chats. These interactions sometimes carry over to other messaging platforms. Around 82% of respondents primarily play alone and connect with friends and strangers online, while 15% of gamers like to play in the same space, such as in gaming cafes, with other players, and 4% play primarily with bots.
#4. YouTube and Facebook are the go-to streaming platforms
YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming are the most popular streaming platforms among the community in Indonesia, followed by Steam TV, Garena Live, and Twitch. Gameloft is the most popular publisher, and local portal Dunia Games is a popular destination for Indonesian gamers to follow news and content related to e-sports. Moreover, EVOS Esports is the most well-known e-sports community in the country.
#5. A good platform for brand advertising
When it comes to interactions with ads, 92% of respondents said they can recall the ads they watched in games, while 58% said that video ads attracted their attention, and 52% said they will likely take action after watching ads with in-game prizes. The top verticals that advertise through gaming apps are tech or digital platforms operating in e-commerce, electronics, gaming accessories, food and beverages, fashion, and cosmetics.