Vietnam has been the biggest game market in South East Asia since 2015. The total revenue of the game industry in the year reached USD 237 million, ranking sixth in Asia, after China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Also in 2015, mobile games alone brought turnover of USD120 million with 170 games marketed, while only 70 games were marketed in the year before.
The domestic mobile online game market made a big leap in 2016 when bringing 62 percent of total revenue. By the end of the year, Vietnam had had 36 million gamers, while the turnover had reached USD 300 million, for both PC and mobile games, an increase of 25 percent over the year before.
However, only a small part of the sum of USD 300 million went to Vietnamese firms’ pockets. Of the 10 most successful games in 2016, including Lien Minh Huyen Thoai (League of Legends), Vo Lam Truyen Ky mobile (Legend of Swordman) and MU Origin-VN, none of them is made in Vietnam.
All of the games were imports, which means that Vietnamese game distributors had to pay big money for royalties and operation costs to foreign game firms, most of them from China. The same thing happened with 10 hottest games on mobile, console and PC (international versions) such as Clash of Clan, Call of Duty and Pokemon Go.
In 2015, the revenue of the game market was USD 237 million. However, 80 percent of games were from South Korea and China. There was no purely Vietnamese name among the most popular games. The figures showed that Vietnam is the largest game market in South East Asia, but Vietnam is not the strongest game industry in the region.
Many years ago, when Vietnam’s game industry took shape, analysts once put high hopes on the development of the industry as Vietnam has good engineers and received encouragement from the state. But in the last 10 years, what Vietnam has done is just import and distribute foreign games.
However, one can see some bright parts in the grey panorama of Vietnam’s game industry. Most recently, Khu Vuon Tren May (Sky Garden: Farm in Paradise), Vietnamese mobile game, was honored at the 13th IMGA Global, an important event which took place in March 2017 in San Francisco.
In 2016, Khu Vuon Tren May also received IMGA SEA people’s choice award. In 2016, three games developed by Pine Entertainment were among top 50 nominations on App Stores. The list of 10 most interesting games on App Store included Politaire, also a product developed by Pine Entertainment.