South East Asia: PC and mobile doubling to $4.4bn - report

File photo: Ji-Hee Lee of the all-female computer gaming team QWER trains at an office in Seoul, South Korea, April 2016

Esports titles are to drive video gaming over the next few years in South East Asia, as one analyst firm predicts total revenue for 2017 at $2.2bn USD and a 2021 figure of $4.4bn.

Games intended for use at professional-level competitive tournaments are expected to push increases in Southeast Asian revenue, according to a new report.

They are viewed as "the primary driver for the explosive growth in PC online games," according to Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners, whose five-year forecast was previewed by VentureBeat.

New hit international games and mobile games that offer experiences similar to key PC titles are also credited for the expected rise.

Specific games are not mentioned in the summary, but "Dota 2" and "League of Legends" dominate tournament prize pot rankings, with "Counter-Strike GO," "StarCraft II" and "Heroes of the Storm" among the highest-paying eSports titles to date, per eSportsEarnings.com.

The latest title from Californian "StarCraft II" studio Blizzard Entertainment, "Overwatch," is gearing up for the launch of its first top-level international league season in 2018, while "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," developed in South Korea, has been positioning itself as an eSports contender-in-waiting.

Both "Dota 2" and "League of Legends" are part of a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre, which pits two teams against each other in a tactical battle of wits and skill, and mobile iterations on the MOBA format are "a major contributor to mobile eSports," said Hanson, with Niko's summary highlighting "Arena of Valor" (known as "King of Glory" in China).

And while revenue from mobile games is to surpass that of PC games in 2018, Niko views mobile and PC gaming as complementary rather than competitive, noted VB.