In June 2021, dtac launched a gaming initiative as part of its “Beyond Mobile Connectivity” strategy, which aims to build a comprehensive digital ecosystem and transform the dtac app into a super-app. Gaming Nation, dtac’s mobile platform designed for all gamers, has been the key component of this gaming initiative, and a pioneer in Thailand’s growing casual gaming landscape.
dtacblog spoke to dtac’s Head of Digital Product (Gaming) Patchara Vanthongkam, whose team is responsible for Gaming Nation, about Thailand’s gaming habits and the role that Gaming Nation plays in industry growth.
The Rise of Mobile Gaming
A gaming enthusiast himself who has worked with big-name game developers in the region, Mr. Patchara understands the potential of the gaming industry in Thailand. “About 32 million Thais – almost half of the population – play games. Overall, this market is worth around 30-40 billion baht,” he said. “And though the growth rate has not been very high in the past few years, the gaming market continues to grow steadily thanks to mobile games.”
The continued growth of Thailand’s gaming industry is spurred by several factors. First, with the boom of smartphones, players no longer need dedicated gaming devices in order to play. Second, there is a greater variety of games in the market now, with many more big-name games scheduled to enter the Thai market. Third, there are more channels where players can top-up games.
Mr. Patchara pointed out that despite all these growth factors, mobile operators have hardly touched this market until now. Those that do are more into the eSports segment, which is relatively niche. “But dtac aims to answer the needs of casual gamers, who represent a big segment in the market and have the potential to grow further alongside the mobile-gaming segment.”
He went onto explain that Gaming Nation is more than just a top-up platform. dtac has the ambition to become a distributor in the gaming industry, and Gaming Nation’s top-up service is only a small part in the value chain. Moreover, the platform has a large part to play in the success of dtac’s Beyond Mobile Connectivity strategy: through Gaming Nation, dtac can reach out to customers of other mobile operators, opening the door to ample growth opportunities in the digital landscape.
Among Southeast Asia’s Top 3 Gaming Nations
Thailand’s gaming population and their specific habits also contribute to growth potential. “While Indonesia and Vietnam have a high percentage of gamers, their spending is relatively low. Singapore and Taiwan, on the contrary, have fewer gamers overall, but their spending is very high,” Mr. Patchara explained.
Thai gamers are somewhere in the middle. “There is a sizable number of gamers in Thailand, and their spending on games is also relatively high. This puts Thailand’s gaming market among the top three position in Southeast Asia,” Mr. Patchara continued.
There are also significant differences between Thailand’s gaming industry and those of more developed countries. In Asia, games are mainly developed for mobile, while in European and American markets, gamers place stronger emphasis on beautiful graphics, compelling storytelling, and immersive experiences. This is partly due to the higher GDP in the West and their gamers’ ability to afford professional gaming gear.
“In Thailand, gamers want to play games that also function like a social network and are available on smartphones,” he continued. This is partly why Gaming Nation has been such a success in the short time since its launch.
A Gaming Platform for Everyone
In addition to offering easy access to casual gamers from any mobile operator, dtac’s Gaming Nation has embraced three strategies to fuel its growth:
- Partnerships with game developers and publishers to provide dtac customers with exclusive offers
- Relationships with gaming influencers to foster a larger gaming community and reach a wider number of gamers
- Development of gaming-related products and services, such as the recently launched Gaming SIM with prices starting at 339 baht. The SIM comes with Hyperlane technology, allowing gamers to enjoy six popular games (PUBG MOBILE, RoV, Free Fire, Call of Duty Mobile, Mobile Legends, and League of Legends) on a priority lane with unlimited max speed, great reactivity, and minimal ping and lag.
“Gaming Nation has really made a big leap since day one. And this is only the beginning,” Mr. Patchara said. “Since we believe gaming is for everyone, we feel the market will naturally keep on growing.”