The Explosion of Online Gaming in Vietnam

Online gaming is a booming industry in Vietnam. A report from Việt Nam News notes that the online gaming sector is expected to achieve revenues of $1 billion before 2027. Notably, the number of jobs created through online gaming increased three-fold over the last five years, owing to a youthful demographic of 32 million players in the country.

Despite the industry starting much later compared to other nations, Vietnam has caught on to the trend quickly, thanks to a number of factors: smartphone penetration, high-speed internet coverage, and mushrooming internet cafes — to name a few. The pandemic also gave the industry an edge, as it grew exponentially with more people staying and playing at home. In this article, we’ll look at the three major sectors of online gaming in Vietnam and their current status.

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Mobile gaming

Mobile gaming is the dominant form of online gaming, contributing to more than half of the industry’s revenues. Our article on ‘Mobile Gaming Trends 2022’ tracks this remarkable growth. With new gamers on board, the global gaming market is projected to grow from $174.9 billion to $217.9 billion by 2023. The mobile gaming industry alone is worth $86.3 billion, and innovations will push this number higher.
We see that rapid expansion stemmed from playable advertisements, as well as play-to-earn ecosystems centered around cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens. Social channels provide additional visibility, as seen in hashtag challenges on TikTok. Strong positive growth can be attributed to a time where physical travel is constricted, with mobile gaming providing the avenue to draw people closer to each other — albeit in virtual worlds.

Online casinos

Earlier years saw the Vietnamese government crackdown on illegal casino operations, but turned a blind eye to its online counterparts and allowed online casinos to flourish. Moreover, the Vietnamese government is about to change its stance on casinos in general; GGRAsia’s article on local casino betting announced that the Ministry of Finance has proposed to extend its pilot scheme that allows economically-qualified Vietnamese locals to gamble at select domestic casinos until 2024.

As a guide to Vietnam by ExpatBets points out, the government is on its way to embracing gambling in the country. They have also legalized sports betting, and foreigners are allowed to enter casinos — no questions asked. Until land-based casinos are legalized and regulated by the government, however, many citizens consider online casino games as an alternative. The number of real-money gaming platforms has surged, along with a wide array of e-payment apps for gamers, such as OnePay, VNPay, and Momo.

eSports market

eSports is a competitive video gaming sector involving multiple players battling against each other in teams, with matches often live-streamed for fans. The Tuổi Trẻ News’ write-up on eSports considers it as a nascent industry breaking into the mainstream, with its own leagues, superstars, celebrity athlete owners, and stadium-level tournaments. Global eSports revenues hit $1.1 billion in 2019, due to the popularity of games like DOTA 2League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The number of Vietnamese eSport players surged to nearly 18 million that same year.

Although it’s a young field, the eSports market is a lucrative one, with an ecosystem built on advertising, sponsorships, and media rights. Content creators, equipment providers, and businesses concerned with consumer goods likewise have an opportunity to grow, as many casual players tune into matches and game creator videos as a form of daily entertainment.

Overall, online gaming is a fast-evolving sector in Vietnam. While its full potential is yet to be unleashed, the industry’s drive to innovate and stay ahead of the curve will soon cultivate results in the global market.

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