Vietnam Online Gaming Trends and Opportunities

Nora Setiawan

January 25, 2021


Vietnam Online Gaming Trends and Opportunities

Nora Setiawan

January 25, 2021

Nowadays, Vietnamese consumers have grown wealthier and increasingly become the target of global companies. Therefore, the interest in local consumer trends has risen rapidly. One area of the Vietnamese consumer market that shows a promise is the gaming market, a $136 million a year industry that appears as the largest gaming market in Southeast Asia. Thus, in this article, you will be given information about online gaming trends and opportunities in Vietnam. Let’s keep reading!

READ MORE: How Viettonkin Consulting help you to do market research on your next country of expansion

Overview of The Online Gaming Trends

Based on market research company Niko Partners and Google, Vietnam’s e-sport market will hit a 28% five-year annual growth rate (CAGR), and it will be also the highest in Southeast Asia. In 2020, the revenue from online games in Vietnam are expected to reach US$10.1 million, which is a 16% increase from last year.

There are a number of factors that contribute to making Vietnam an attractive market for the games industry. One of them is that smartphone penetration in Vietnam is high and more than 50% of the population are using smartphones. High-speed internet coverage, including 4G networks, continues to widespread and allows users play anywhere and anytime.

In addition, Vietnam’s demographic in which half of the population is under the age of 25 can make the country more attractive as a gaming industry investment destination. As home broadband penetration continues to rise along the lines, market conditions for gaming providers and investors will improve as well.

The Sub-sectors in The Gaming Industry

sub sectors in the gaming industry

There are three sub-sectors in the gaming industry, and they are:

1. Mobile Games

Mobile is the king in the gaming industry that is competing for domestic customers in Vietnam. It contributes more than half of all gaming revenue in Vietnam, and with the mobile gaming market experiencing a CAGR of 87.7% which is the highest in Southeast Asia so far.

One of the most popular mobile games, Flappy Bird was made by a lone Vietnamese developer in his parent’s spare room in Hanoi. Most young people had the Flappy Bird installed on their smartphones back then. Additionally, the most popular mobile games in Vietnam right now are PUBG Mobile, Clash of Clans, and Rise of The Kings, as well as a rising amount of Chinese content produced by big names such as Tencent and NetEase.

2. Online Gambling

Another trend that grew significantly among Vietnamese players is the real-money gaming, particularly online casino games such as roulette, bingo, blackjack, and slots. There were very few real-money gaming platforms operating in Vietnam a few years ago, but there are now a wide variety of Vietnamese online gambling platforms providing games.

The platforms allow Vietnamese players to gamble with local currency and use payment  gateways that are widely accepted in Vietnam, such as OnePay, VNPay, and Momo. The revenue of lottery ticket sales in Vietnam has reached $13 billion a year, while soccer betting alone generates $1 billion a year, the opportunity of online casino games to rise up in the near future is high.

3. E-sports

Electronic sports or e-sports is competitive level gaming and involves professional players who participate in tournaments and competitions for sum of money as prizes. In addition, the development of technology and the internet across the globe, e-sports have become a major money-maker in the entertainment industry. In fact, global e-sport revenues reached $906 million in 2018, a year-on-year growth of 38.2%.

E-sports enthusiast viewers and players created a gaming community of over 32.8 million and a major cause of success in gaming-focused startups in Vietnam like Garena, VTC, Appota, and SohaGame. They also help to generate Vietnam’s first startup unicorn, called Vinagame (VNG).

How To Enter The Online Gaming Market?

Setting up a game company for foreigners in Vietnam is relatively easy. However, they have to obtain a license from local authorities. The licensing process can take from 20 days to over a month and involves representatives from the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the Youth Union.

The foreign companies can have two options to get their game licenses. Firstly, they can work with Vietnamese studios to help them accomplish the necessary procedures, and secondly is to establish a branch and a representative office in Vietnam. The most important is local knowledge is very crucial in this case.

According to Decree 27/2018/ND-CP, the government requested that Vietnamese companies collaborating with international partners should have servers in Vietnam to store users’ personal information, and need to provide this data when required by the authorities. Multiple players’ games that simultaneously interact with each other cannot allow a user under 18 year old to play more than 180 minutes in a day.

Another regulation that foreign companies should follow is the game’s content and images must comply with Vietnamese rules which may require companies to adjust some changes. Foreign publishers must also comply with the strict local regulations or they will be forced to end their operations. For instance, Finland-based game company Supercell has been forced to close down in 2019

Not only that, over the last two years, the government has asked Apple and Google to take down several games from their stores due to illegal content which includes elements of violence, gambling, and those found to distort Vietnamese history.

The local companies have to deal with tough competition in the gaming market, but Vietnamese indie developers have been international success in making casual games. The most remarkable Vietnam-made game is Flappy Bird, which hit app stores worldwide and put Vietnamese talent on the radar.

As we all know, Vietnam is an attractive market for the gaming industry and related sectors, especially during the pandemic. Furthermore, the country will continue to place as a top investment destination in the upcoming years as there are a lot of Vietnam’s youth bulge, digital infrastructure and local talent. However, foreign companies must do their diligence to invest in the online gaming industry in Vietnam.

In conclusion, if you are keen to invest in the online game industry, it might be the right time, as the online gaming trend in Vietnam is rising rapidly these years. However, there are a few things that you need to pay attention to, such as preparing things to obtain the license from local authorities. If you are in doubt or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact us below. Viettonkin will be here to help you!

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