Online games operators in the Asia-Pacific region will more than double their revenues to $6.8m over the next three years, analysts predict.
Growing availability of broadband internet in the region is a key driver of growth in the online games market, according to US-based research firm In-Stat.
"The increase in speed and consistency of internet connections provided by ISPs and telecoms operators [in Asia-Pacific] continues to greatly facilitate the development of online gaming," said Bryan Wang, In-Stat's Singapore-based managing director for the Asia-Pacific region.
The broadband subscriber base in the region, currently more than 180 million, is enjoying a compound annual growth rate of 12.7 per cent, according to data from US-based consultancy Frost & Sullivan.
This growth rate is expected to continue until at least 2012, by which time more than 80 per cent of the region's internet users will be connected to high speed broadband services.
Faster and more reliable internet connections now make possible a greater range of games, according to Wang. "Online games are no longer restricted to slow-action strategy games," he said.
In addition, games firms in the region are now making greater investments in content development, thereby making their games more attractive to users, the research firm reports.
Other factors promoting market growth include a wider variety of access mediums as internet access becomes a standard feature of more devices.
However, the researchers warn that problems remain for the industry, including piracy and network latency which makes games less fun to play, despite heavy investment in content.
More than half of the people in the region who responded to a recent In-Stat consumer internet use survey said that they played online games.
The research firm forecasts regional online games revenues to expand from $3.2bn in 2005 to $6.8bn in 2010.
Just two countries, Japan and China, will dominate the region's online games markets, generating more than 70 per cent of the revenue between them.
Japan is expected to account for $2.8bn, or 41 per cent of all revenues in 2010, while Chinese gamers will generate another 30 per cent, or $2.1bn.
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