July 18, 2023
BANGKOK – Esports are growing at a double-digit rate, with the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) on Friday estimating that the number of gamers who participate in gaming competitions will double from 9.8 million in 2021 to 18.7 million players in 2027.
Poonpong Naiyanapakorn, the office’s director-general, said about 67% of gamers use smartphones while the rest use computers or game consoles.
The TPSO estimated the value of the esports market in Thailand in 2021 at 37.6 billion baht, saying it had grown about 20% a year on average in the previous five years. It started gaining momentum in 2018 when its estimated value was 18.5 billion baht, the office said.
Poonpong identified several causes for the rapid growth of esports in Thailand:
An increasing number of games can be streamed via social media and this is attracting new players,
A rising number of esport tournaments are broadcast online, which helped strengthen the viewer base even during the pandemic,
More computer and game companies are making esports-oriented products, and
Some Thai institutes have included esport-related subjects in their curriculum.
“The esport market is growing every year and has a high potential for business opportunities. This is also fueled by the fact that electronic devices are more accessible to wider audiences every year,” Poonpong added.
Poonpong said that esports are also efficient advertising channels for businesses. A Nielsen Fan Insights study in 2021 found that 65% of esport viewers worldwide were able to remember brand names or logos of sponsors of the event they were watching. Moreover, 55% said they were more inclined to buy gaming products from brands that sponsor their favorite esport teams than other brands at the same price range.
To further promote esports industry,TPSO advised the government to support the establishment and improvement of related infrastructure, including internet access, digital technology, and software development.
Related laws and regulations must also be amended to facilitate the growth of esports and ensure that future investment is not obstructed, Poonpong said.
To ease parents’ concerns, games to be included in esport tournaments must not promote violence and inappropriate behaviour, he added.
The TPSO chief said that to ensure sustainable growth, investments from businesses that are directly and indirectly related to esports should also be promoted, such as electronics manufacturers, software developers, event organisers, marketing agencies, food and beverage, and esportwear fashion.