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Who plays casual games on desktop in Singapore these days?

Image credit: Themeplus

Image credit: Themeplus

Earlier, I had a look into the Southeast Asian casual games market, and in this study I am focusing particularly on Singapore. The data in this study come from actual Singaporean user gameplays and games that are available at Gametop.com. It should be noted that the games in question are downloadables for Windows PC platform.

Casual games in this context refer to games that are typically from indie game development studios, and not the “big titles” like Skyrim or World of Warcraft. The data set is one year’s worth of casual gaming, and in some instances limited to 90 days due to privacy restrictions.

Male domination

In many parts of the world, the number of women who play is the same as men. In Singapore, however, the situation is very much dominated by males. The data shows that roughly 75 to 85 percent of the users in the downloadable casual gaming market are men in Singapore. These percentages are huge when compared to the gamer gender distribution of neighboring countries or to the average around the world (around 50 percent/ 50 percent).

On a quick look, some close relatives in terms of gamer gender distribution would be United Arab Emirates (90 percent/ 10 percent) and Saudi Arabia (95 percent/ 5 percent). This gender disparity has been increasing over the years.

When extending the date ranges, it seems that the ratio was more balanced in previous years. There is no single explanation for this, but one could argue that females have moved to mobile gaming faster than men. Another factor could be that male gamers are likely more hard core when it comes to the number of game plays.

Preferred operating system

The games offered on Gametop.com are primarily for Windows PC users, so it is more interesting to look at the system versions, than the operating systems themselves. Windows 7 is the clear winner with more than a 70 percent share of all game plays.

Interestingly the newly launched Windows 10 is nowhere to be seen. You could imagine that users with Windows 10 computers have systems capable of running the newest games, and thus they might not be that interested in more simple casual games.

Another hypothesis would be that Windows 10 market penetration in general is still relatively low in Singapore. It is interesting to note that Windows XP still has a very stable 10 percent share of the total, despite the operating system being more than 14 years old already. This makes sense as most of the casual games run fine on older computers.

What games are being played?

At Gametop, there are more than 400 game titles covering most of the popular genres. Age and gender play a big role as to what kind of games people want to play. Singaporean gaming marketing seems to be dominated by males, and this can be seen in the game category data.

The most popular game category is action, and women are not playing these games at all. This might sound stereotypical, but women in Singapore seem to be more interested in the hidden object games and different simulation games. But given the fact that the female gamers make up only 5 to 15 percent of the total, the popular genres data might be misleading because of the low volumes.

The second most popular category is racing games. Action and racing games are the most popular genres almost anywhere in the world, but there are some interesting insights when you dive deeper into the data. It is common knowledge that the Singaporean population is aging rapidly, and perhaps we can see some of that in the gaming data as well.

Earlier, we have established the fact that Singaporean gamers are relatively older than their other Southeast Asian counterparts. The 55 to 64 age group, in particular, is higher in Singapore.

I was curious to know what games a typical 55+ Singaporean male would like to play on their computer. Turns out that the top 3 slots are occupied by a game called Sudden Strike. There are actually three Sudden Strike games, Iwo Jima, Normandy and Crimean. The game is basically the same, with a different theme and theater of war.

The 25 to 34 age group makes up about 40 percent of the total game plays and their favorite games are from the racing and action categories. This is not very surprising as you can assume that the younger crowd enjoys faster paced games.

Weekdays and weekends

Singaporeans are busy people, and the weekend is when you get to relax and perhaps play some simple games. Friday is a very busy gaming day, but perhaps a bit surprisingly, Saturday is not. People play more on Sundays again and Monday is the busiest day of the week. The rest of the days fall somewhere in between.

Time of the day

We have established the playing cycle of relatively busy weekends, and steady weekdays. Now let’s look into the actual time of the day when players are active. Singaporeans play throughout the day, but there are a few observations to be made from the data.

There is a definite gaming activity peak around 7 pm to 9 pm and another at 11 am to 3 pm. A logical explanation for the first peak would be that most people are done with their daily responsibilities such as work or studies by that time. The peak around around typical lunch hours is more interesting though. Could it be that people want to relax during the day and play some games?

The gaming remains active from 5 pm till midnight. Naturally, everyone has to sleep, so we see a rapid decline starting from midnight onwards lasting till 8am.

Gaming frequency

It is common knowledge that in any business, it makes sense to take good care of your regular users, instead of trying to continuously attract new clients. The same goes for downloadable games, even if they are offered free. The play frequency is an important metric, and gives an idea of whether users are actually enjoying the games.

The chart below shows the gameplay frequency within a thirty day window. Roughly 10 percent of the users try a game only once, but things get very interesting when you are looking at people who play more than 10 times. Turns out that more than 70 percent of the Singaporean gamers fall into a hard core casual gamer category.

Almost a quarter of the game plays can be attributed to super gamers who play 201+ times. This is really not surprising and roughly follows the concept of “Whales, Dolphins and Minnows” often mentioned in studies about gaming.

Whales are relatively few in numbers, but they make up a big percentage of the game plays. Minnows are the users who only want to try once or twice, but usually don’t come back often. Dolphins are the users in the middle. The total number of dolphin game plays might be equal to whales, but the user pool can be ten times more.

Conclusions

This is a small glimpse into the Singaporean downloadable casual gamer market and there are a few takeaways for marketers and people who might be interested in this segment in general.

A typical user would be an older male who is most likely playing some of his favorite games every day. The younger 25-35 crowd prefers to play faster paced games, as you would expect.

Games are being played throughout the week, but more than 50 percent of the playing happens during Thursday/Friday and Sunday/Monday periods. Singapore remains an active desktop casual gaming market, despite the huge increase of mobile gaming in recent years.

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