Insight: Gaming and eSports in Indonesia – assess the business opportunity for brand

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – ASEAN communications agency Vero have partnered up with Decision Lab to explore the esports landscape in Indonesia today. This cooperation aims to have a deep look into the characteristics and behaviors of Indonesia gamers and esports fans and the communication channels through which the brands may learn and make more informed decisions about how they might get involved in Indonesia’s booming esports scene. 

Esports, like its precursor – gaming, has transformed from a subcultural interest to a mainstream cultural force, opening a wide range of opportunities for brands to join the fray. In an era characterized by both hyper-individualism and hyper-connectivity, brands must be more empathetic and willing to adapt to rapid changes in cultural spheres that are increasingly diffuse.  

In Indonesia, more than 52 million of the population now plays esports games. This large cultural platform is providing opportunities for Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) to build and develop the uniqueness of their personalities as well as the content that reaches the audience. And for brands, esports are efficiently a new communication channel, with all the opportunities and challenges that entails. 


“We see that the huge potential of esports in Indonesia is a great opportunity for brands and business entities to create synergies that can support them in communicating with target consumers and gaining a wider market share for their business development,” said Sasha Alwani, Strategic Planning Director Vero.

She added further that it is important for brands to keep update on the latest trend of esport and implement creative communication strategies to be accepted by the gaming community in Indonesia. This is because majority of them are young people who tend to like fresh ideas and unique communication approaches.

The results of research conducted on 470 Indonesians aged 16-41 years with 3 categories of respondents, namely gamers, watchers and streamers, cover several things, including:

Esports in Indonesia at a Glance

Demographics: In general, the E-sports community in Indonesia is mostly located in the capital city of Jakarta, followed by Surabaya and Medan, with an age group of 26-37 years. Meanwhile, from the aspect of gender distribution, Esports in Indonesia is still dominated by men at 53%, while women at 47%.

Esports Genre: All respondents from different categories agree that the most popular E-sports genre is Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). Although there is a slight difference in preferences between Players and Viewers/Streamers as gamers prefer sports games, while watchers/streamers seem to enjoy real-life strategy games more. Mobile Legend and PUBG dominate the category as the most played, watched, and streamed games.

Main Esport Brands: Currently, the most popular E-sports brands in Indonesia are GameLoft for the well-known game publisher category with a percentage of 78%, DuniaGames as the most popular game news platform with a percentage of 72% & Youtube Gaming for the category streaming platforms (84%) and watching (91%) are the most widely used. As for Esports celebrities, respondents from all categories agree that EVOS Esports is the most famous player or team in the community, while Jess No Limit holds the title as the best streamer most watched.

Responding to the development of e-sports in Indonesia, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy (Menparekraf) Sandiaga Salahudin Uno, said, “The e-sports industry in Indonesia is one of the creative sub-sectors that has been growing rapidly that succeeded as “pandemic winner” and also able to make a major contribution to the Indonesian economy over the pandemic situation, especially with more and more business entities are involved with e-sports industry to support their business development.”

He further added that his ministry will consistently strive to develop the esports ecosystem and the game industry in Indonesia through various programs and policies. At the 2021 Esports President’s Cup and XX National Sports Week (PON) Esports in Papua, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy took part in providing facilitation and assistance for the local game “Lokapala”. Meanwhile, in the context of the Indonesian game industry, the Baparekraf Game Prime (BGP) program is one of the programs to increase the exposure of local games to be better known to the public and abroad, packaged with esports and discounts on the purchase of 20 local games in e-commerce. Gelora (a local game created by Indonesia) is one of the incubation programs to develop human resources in terms of game developers. In addition to opening access to finance capital, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy is currently planning to issue a Government Regulation on an intellectual property-based financing scheme.

Behavior of Esports Players & Spectators in Indonesia

Reason for playing: Esports has grown from a niche activity to a global audience sport where music and film are aligned as one of the major players in entertainment. This is in line with the results of research which states that more than 76% of respondents agree that playing games or watching streaming is for entertainment purposes.

Platform: Meanwhile, in terms of favorite devices used to play games, 69% of respondents chose smartphones, and another 20% chose PCs as the second most used device for playing games. This is also influenced by the increasing number of smartphone penetration in line with the development of internet access in Indonesia which also encourages public interest in mobile games. In addition, the respondents felt a pleasant experience playing games using smartphones because they felt it could present a combination of good graphic design, skill features, and ongoing challenges. In this case, 27% of respondents chose Samsung as the best mobile phone brand for gaming, followed by Xiaomi which came in second with 22% of votes and Oppo with 13% in third.

Playtime: About 82% of gamers say they enjoy playing alone and connecting with others online. According to the results of this research, 62% of gamers play at least 1 time a day with a duration of about 1 to 3 hours per session.

Interaction with Ads: 68% of respondents reported that they see advertisements very often and overall, 58% of advertisements with video content are the most popular among the Esports community in Indonesia followed by advertisements with in-game prizes, which are 52%.

Related to games, electronics, technology & game accessories are the product categories that attract the most purchase interest among Gen Z and Millennials. The interest in buying game items continuously by gamers is driven by satisfaction and fun. In addition, KOL also has a certain influence on the audience because about half of the viewers have confidence in KOL product recommendations and also made purchases in the past month for the products advertised by their KOL.

In line with this matter, Vice President of Public Affairs IESPA, Andrew Tobias said, “It is important for brands to oversee and determine the right influencers as well as according to the target market they want to target. In addition, building long-term partnerships with influencers or KOL can certainly create better content and bonds with consumers and be able to provide more optimal feedback.”

While esports is growing fast in Indonesia, there are still some ways that brands have used it elsewhere to connect with their audiences that haven’t been tried here. Along with the rapid growth of the esports industry, we are witnessing a significant increase in gaming content creators. Unlike traditional spectator sports, most people who watch esports also actively play the games. And rather than just consuming the content provided by esports gamers, many players and watchers are also actively creating content, some with high production values. In thishyper-connected world,brands should consider the esports industry a“co-business”rather than a “show-business” usingteamsand playersto help deliver messages,theycan work directly withesports audiencesas co-actors. 

About Vero

For a communications agency, Southeast Asia is one of the most exciting places in the world: young, growing fast, and full of opportunity. 

At Vero, we are all about this region. We are an integrated agency born in Southeast Asia, with offices in Bangkok, Yangon, Ho Chi Minh City, and Jakarta, and presence throughout the region via partner agencies. We are intimately familiar with these markets – their cultures, media, business environments, and government policies.  

With our roots in public relations, we appreciate the value of dialogue between businesses and their audiences and stakeholders. We know how to help our clients create lasting connections, and we are well-versed in the digital ecosystems that are vital to maintaining them.  

To us, the agency business is all about teamwork – with clients, influencers, and especially each other. Our ever-expanding world-class team includes communication specialists, creative designers, social strategists, planning talent, and many more – all working together to solve problems, manage crises, and build communities for our clients.

About Decision Lab

Decision Lab is on a mission to provide agile, connected and decision-focused market research. Brands in Asia are experiencing disruption as consumers adopt new technologies and interact with products and campaigns in new ways. Decision Labs work with progressive clients who understand the need for digital fluidity and sound decision making.

Decision Lab assists clients by providing a solid basis for decision making based on three core pillars: consumer understanding, strategy and planning, and marketing execution. All of these services are centered on providing speed and flexibility by seamlessly connecting brands with consumers. They are backed by three key Decision Lab assets: Southeast Asia’s largest online community for research, partnerships with industry-leading technology providers, and an international team of Decision Consultants with the flexibility to design custom studies and apply the best tools for each market.

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