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Vietnam: A vibrant and thriving cloud game opportunity

HGC Vietnam gaming blog

At HGC, we support the glocalization of the local game publisher and at the same time, we also act as a gateway for international companies to go into Vietnam.

Marcello Brescia
Manager - OTT & Edge Ecosystem, International Business of HGC

Respecting the local culture and traditions, but offering a new window of communication and entertainment, cloud gaming is becoming Vietnam’s place to connect and experience new worlds, disconnecting from real life.

A vibrant, growing economy – which is set to be South East Asia’s (SEA) fifth largest by 2030 - and with an extremely young population, Vietnam is one of the region’s fastest growing cloud gaming markets, with SEA rapidly becoming the world’s hub for the highest concentration of players.

The Vietnamese gaming sector is worth a staggering annual $136 million, according to research think tank Niko Partners and Google. Analysts project the country’s online gaming frenzy to grow exponentially at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of as high as 28% for a period of at least five years.

The rapid growth comes as no surprise as Vietnam has seen an exponential in growth rates when it comes to technology adoption – technology that is today driving that online gaming vertical.

For example, mobile phones registered a CAGR from 2013 to 2017 of 87.7%. Today, more than half the population owns a mobile device, that is more than 46 million people. Figures that come as no surprise, as 50% of the country’s population is below the age of 30.

A digital native population build itself up during the 2010s and it is now going beyond the standard usage of mobile devices or desktops to simply chat with friends or access streaming services. Very much like other regions across the globe, Vietnam is ever more gaming in the cloud.

Vietnam had as of December 2020, one of Asia’s highest internet penetration rates of 72.9% of the population, with almost as many users accessing social platforms such as Facebook, home to a huge consumer gaming marketplace, according to Internet World Stats. Interestingly, games like League of Legends are one of the most popular in the country with as much as 15% of the population being fans of the adventure game, due to the exposure of it on Facebook.

Dezan Shira & Associates has found that as of the end of last year, Vietnam’s regular gaming population was around four million gamers, almost two-thirds of whom are between the ages of 18 and 30. With more than half of Vietnam’s population under the age of 25, the youth segment is an important driver of growth for the gaming market. Elsewhere, research house Newzoo estimates that as much as one third of the country, or more than 32 million people are now playing some sort of online games across e-sports, online gambling and “standard” consumer cloud games.

Although all this growth is not being solely driven by the desire to play, it is being driven through a recurring investment in IT infrastructure to support the country’s gaming needs. High-speed internet coverage, including 4G networks and soon 5G, continue to be more widespread, allowing users to play on the go, non-stop and wherever they are, as opposed to having to sit in one of the famous cyber cafes like in the old days.

Home-grown Vietnamese gaming industry

Vietnam might not come to mind when thinking of a gaming exporting nation. A place where games are built on ideas and delivered as ground-breaking experiences to those that play. But this is exactly what Vietnam has to offer.

The biggest home-grown developers in Vietnam right now include Vinagame (VNG), VTC, FunTap, and Gamota. However, one of the country’s biggest exports was the famous Flappy Bird, a popular game developed by Vietnamese video game artist and programmer Dong Nguyen, where the player controls a bird, attempting to fly between columns of green pipes without hitting them.

Launched on May 24, 2013, by January the next year the game had been downloaded more than 50 million times, according to the BBC, making it one of the top free games on the Android and iOS app stores and the number one free game in app stores in 53 countries. Its creator claimed to have generated as much as $50,000 a day in in-app advertising at the peak of its usage.

Another story of success is VNG, which became Vietnam’s first start-up unicorn, and it is focused in digital content and online entertainment, social networking, and e-commerce, having released best-selling games including Garena, VTC, Appota, and SohaGame.

Building such gaming empires comes with a lot of work and the need for a solid and robust IT infrastructure and software. From IP transit to fully meshed and extensive networks, without forgetting hybrid networks and softwarization, big data and above all, a platform for global reach, the pieces of the puzzle do not have to be complicated for those wishing to be part of Vietnam’s cloud gaming scene, or indeed, for those who desire to export their games beyond borders into new regional markets but also take their products globally.

This is where a partner such as HGC can help and take away of the pain away from an infrastructure and software front. HGC’s office was officially established in Vietnam in 2009, and over the years we have built efficient and highly bespoke solutions to address gaming companies’ needs, especially around reducing latency – a crucial element to be successful in this space – and far away reach. At HGC, we support the glocalization of the local game publisher and at the same time, we also act as a gateway for international companies to go into Vietnam.

HGC boosts a fully resilient network with access to key infrastructure assets in Vietnam and close-by countries (GMS region), including engineers for in-country support for customers. This lets us act as an aggregator and single contact point for OTTs and other gaming providers to reach end users very quickly as the infrastructure is well established and connected to local carriers, ISPs and MNOs.

This results in gaming publishers being able to reach a large number of users – or as we like to call them, eyeballs – in a multitude of geographies at the switch of a button.

If you would like to learn more about Vietnam as a market and how HGC can support your IT journey, we are hosting an exclusive webinar on June 17 on ICT Communications in Vietnam.