Google looking to boost Asian gaming startups with launch of new programme

By: Robin Spiess - Posted on: June 28, 2018 | Business

Google has announced the launch of its Indie Games Accelerator programme, inviting Android developers from several Southeast Asian countries to apply for the opportunity to scale and launch their mobile game designs

Android figurines: Android accounts for 87% of all smartphones worldwide

Regional gaming startups based in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines as well as in India and Pakistan are welcome to apply to participate in the four-month-long training programme, which promises to give developers the opportunity to tap into the region’s growing mobile gaming market.

Winning applicants will be given the opportunity to attend two fully-funded gaming bootcamps in Singapore and will receive personalised mentorship from Google’s industry experts. They will also be presented with Google Cloud credits and invites to several industry events.

“There are many passionate gamers in Asia,” wrote Anuj Gulati, marketing manager for Google Play, in a blog post announcing the competition. “The talented mobile game developers in the region have a tremendous opportunity to build apps and deliver experiences that entertain, educate and inspire.”

In Southeast Asia, mobile gaming has grown in popularity as mobile phone penetration has increased, access to the internet has spread and regional economies have improved. Online and mobile gaming revenue in the region reached over $2 billion last year, with the possibility of rising to $4.4 billion by 2021, according to recent reports. In 2016, Indonesia led the regional market with over $330 million in mobile gaming revenue, followed closely by Thailand with $275 million and Malaysia with $238 million.

The Indie Games Accelerator programme may be another attempt by Google Play to bolster itself above its main competitor, Apple’s IOS platform, and capitalise on the recent success of mobile gaming in emerging markets.

Android dominates the worldwide market, accounting for 87% of all smartphones in comparison to Apple’s mere 12%. But Apple has consistently seen the highest percentage of overall app revenue across all smartphone platforms for years, at times more than tripling the amount raised from Google Play’s app downloads.

While Apple products dominate western markets, however, Android has seen marked success in Asia, South America, and parts of Africa, with users in these emerging markets accounting for 40% of Android’s total app downloads on Google Play.

In a region where Android phones and mobile games are becoming more popular than ever before, the Indie Accelerator Programme could prove a significant opportunity for local game developers to perfect their games and grow their user bases.

“Rapid smartphone adoption in these regions presents a new base of engaged gamers that are looking for high quality mobile gaming experiences,” Gulati wrote. “We are focused on helping local game developers from these markets achieve their full potential and make the most of this opportunity.”