Asian Beat #8: Four Insights Into the Malaysian Mobile Games Market

Welcome to the eighth installment of our Asian Beat series! After Vietnam and Thailand, Malaysia is the third South-East Asian country to fall under our microscope.This time again, we teamed up with games research company Newzoo to explore this market. Malaysia is an interesting country, because it is extremely diverse culturally and linguistically. The Malaysian games market, and mobile in particular, is due to grow impressively in the years to come, which makes it a suitable destination to roll out your game in South-East Asia. Here are our top 4 insights into the Malaysian mobile games market!


Credit: Newzoo

1. Malaysia Has One of Asia’s Most Thriving Mobile Markets

The growth of the mobile market in Malaysia has been spectacular. From only 6 million mobile subscriptions in 2000, Malaysia exceeded 43 million subscriptions in 2013. Malaysia also has the highest rate of multiple handset ownership in Southeast Asia.Additionally, Malaysia has the second highest smartphone penetration in Southeast Asia, with 80% of mobile users owning smartphones. Android makes up 75% of operating systems, while iOS stands at 20% (source: statscounter).

2. Malaysia Has a Fast Growing and Lucrative Mobile Games Market

Malaysia is the second South-East Asian games market, with total mobile games revenues reaching close to $97 million in 2014 and and due to increase up to $242 million by 2017.

malaysian mobile games market revenue

On the monetization front, 40% of Malaysian mobile gamers have made at least one purchase in a mobile game in 2014.

malaysian mobile games split

3. There Are Device and Genre Specifics

Tablets are immensely popular in Malaysia, with a constant demand for latest models driving continued growth in sales. According to GfK Asia, nearly 630 thousand units were sold in the first six months of 2014.Therefore, make sure to make your game available on tablet screens, too!In terms of genres, the top 5 categories in terms of percentage of gamers playing it (cumulative) are strategy, race games, action/adventure, simulation and puzzles/3-in-a-row.

malaysian mobile games genres

4. Localization Is Not the #1 Priority, But Think of Chinese

Malaysia is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse countries of South-East Asia, with a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Tamil communities (and many others). Therefore English is the common, unifying language in the country.Free-to-play games are popular in Malaysia and, contrary to Thailand, most of the top grossing iOS apps are English-based, with about only 20% in the top 25 being in Chinese. Most Malaysian speakers have English as a second language, so localizing your game in Malay is not compulsory. However, localizing your game in Chinese could grant you an advantage within this community, which makes up 23% of the total population.

 malaysian-mobile-games market top grossing

Top Grossing Chart, iPhone Malaysian App Store on May 7, 2015

What is your experience of publishing games in Malaysia? Let us know in the comments!