Asian games market researcher Niko Partners is forecasting that the Taiwanese game market will grow from $1.26 billion in 2016 to $2.8 billion by 2021. That shows the potential of the small nation’s game business and the intensity of its fans.

Taiwan’s population of 23.5 million is 55th in the world, but it is the 15th-largest PC and mobile games market worldwide. It is the largest market in greater Southeast Asia, thanks in part to fan enthusiasm, local investment in technology, and good Internet infrastructure.

Mobile games are the biggest segment in Taiwan, accounting for 53 percent of revenue. PC gaming remains important in the forecast period, with growth fueled by esports and current global hits that are making their way to Taiwan. That segment is projected to rise to 60 percent. By 2021, more than half the population will be playing mobile games.

65 percent of gamers in Taiwan feel esports is the country’s most important competitive sport. 75 percent of gamers watch live streams, and more than half want to compete.

Big companies are taking notice. Riot Games’ League of Legends is the most played PC game in Taiwan. Chinese games publishers are successful in Taiwan, especially in mobile where they dominate the top ten games for both iOS and Android. The advantage of Taiwan is that it has fewer regulations than markets like China.

“Taiwan not only has the largest games market revenue in the region that we call Greater Southeast Asia, but it is a unique market in Asia and very distinct from mainland China in terms of gamer behavior, local game development, and types of games in demand,” said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners, in a statement. “It’s imperative for companies in the global games industry ecosystem to understand the Taiwan market opportunity, consumer behaviors, growth factors, and regulations.”

Niko’s research is based on an online survey of Taiwanese gamers, interviews with executives at major Taiwan games companies, payment companies, mobile game developers, and trends analysis on key topics such as esports, Internet cafes, drivers and inhibitors for growth, regulations, and more.

[Updated 10/12/17 11 am: Niko provided a new infographic and revised total revenue number].

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