Staff Reporters
Jan 4, 2024

In-game mobile ads cause APAC gamers to ditch gaming

TOP OF THE CHARTS: According to OMG's latest research, brands need to think hard about how they can add value to the gaming experience, instead of blatantly interrupting it with ads.

In-game mobile ads cause APAC gamers to ditch gaming

Source: Unlocking Gamers in Asia Pacific by Omnicom Media Group (OMG) AP


1. Behaviours – Mobile dominates the market; not all gamers identify as ‘gamers’
  • In-game mobile ads are making Asia Pacific (APAC) gamers ditch gaming. Of the 12,204 respondents surveyed, most said that ads are too often causing them to stop playing the game.
  • Respondents also prefered in-game ads to be seasonal or on rotation in a game set up.
  • While Indian gamers accept in-game mobile ads and perceive them to be a positive experience. On the other hand, those in Hong Kong feel brands are uncreative and boring, which is probably due to too many ads or their repetitiveness.
  • Mobile gaming ranked the most popular in APAC (89%).
  • Mobile gaming is seen as a more convenient option and is mainly driven by markets with cheaper technology. It dominates in markets including Indonesia (96%), India (95%), Philippines, (95%), Malaysia (93%), Vietnam(93%), China (93%), Hong Kong (93%), Thailand (92%), and Taiwan (91%).
  • Meanwhile, PCs are are still popular among certain groups of gamers, specifically those in China (69%), Hong Kong (65%), India (43%), Singapore (42%), and Vietnam (48%). Some of the popular genres in these markets are PC-based and the device is also more accessible through communal spaces such as PC cafes.
  • Consoles are the third most popular device among APAC gamers, especially in Australia (49%) and Hong Kong (49%), and is likely due to their affordability.
  • It is common for brands to use the blanket term ‘gamer’ and 62% of respondents identify with that label. 
  • However, only 37% in South Korea feel the same and this can be attributed to esports being an actual career choice in the country. Hence, everyday gamers do not associate with that label as much as those in other markets.
  • Meanwhile, Chinese and western markets are culturally more open to the label of ‘gamer’ and individuals in Southeast Asian markets spend more time gaming. Hence, they are more willing to see themselves as gamers. Those in China (86%), Vietnam (84%), Hong Kong (84%), and India (76%) indexed above the regional norm, which is due to a mix of cultural influences. 
  • Brands are advised to use different labelling such as ‘players’ or target gaming audiences based on subcultural behaviours when reaching out to different markets across the region.
2. Advertising and brand attitudes – Offer real-world incentives from mobile game ads
  • APAC gamers want real world incentives when gaming, especially from mobile game ads.
  • Brands can take on initiatives such as creating original games, hosting gaming events, and offering real-world and in-game incentives based on in-game performances. As creating original games can be costly, brands can leverage existing popular games such as Fortnite and explore creating worlds or a new experience within them.
  • Some gamers are value driven, aiming to get the best savings from games. Nearly half of APAC gamers (47%) will make an in-game purchase or microtransaction when there is a sale or when they need to power up (37%). 
  • Some also see it as gifts for special occasions (32%) or will only purchase when it is a limited time release (30%).
  • Brands can drive microtransactions by offering in-game boosts or carrying out seasonal executions.
3. Preferences – Solo gaming versus wanting connections
  • Most APAC gamers prefer gaming solo, especially the older demographics, with 45% of them gaming by themselves at least twice a week. 42% prefer quiet gaming experiences.
  • It is crucial for brands to tailor their gaming experiences for solo players mainly without the goal of driving or depending on communal gaming. 
  • To target a younger audience, a multi-player option can be offered. More than half of them (59%) are inclined to having in-game or person-to-person chats and 39% game with friends they know at least twice a week. Two-thirds will change game genres when playing with others.
4. Online engagement – PR efforts help build strong social credibility among gamers
  • In addition to offering incentives and tailoring experiences, word-of-mouth is crucial to winning gamers’ hearts.
  • 89% of gamers in the region find game reviews from family and friends important. That said, influencers or players themselves (90%) are also useful in building credibility among gamers, especially China, India, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. 
  • Gamers in the Philippines place equal importance on recommendations from family and friends as well as influencers.
  • The outlier is South Korea, which places far less importance on positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Compared to the regional average, recommendations from family and friends are 20% less important and those from influencers are over 10% less important for South Korean gamers.
  • Based on these insights, brands need to constantly drive social amplification and seek ways to create more word-of-mouth opportunities to gain traction with gamers.
The research surveyed 12,204 respondents and an equal gender split between male and female across 13 markets. They are Australia, India, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. Slightly more than two-thirds of respondents are aged 25 to 44 years old. The remaining 20% are aged 18 to 24 and 13% aged 45 to 54.
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