New study shows Singaporeans are among the most frequent gamers worldwide

Seven and a half hours. Apart from being approximately the recommended amount of sleep for a person, that’s also how long the average Singaporean spends playing games every week.

Yup. According to a recent “State of Online Gaming” report by Limelight Network, Singaporeans are not only among the most frequent gamers in the world, we’re already number one in Asia! I’m not sure if we should be proud of that, but it’s good to know regardless.

So, what did they find?

  1. Gamers, not just Singaporeans, are playing a lot more games on-the-go.
  2. Over 66 percent of gamers in Singapore watch others play games, with almost 10 percent watching more than seven hours weekly.
  3. The large majority of Singaporeans (79%) were more in favour of downloading games as opposed to purchasing, trading or renting physical copies.
  4. Singaporean gamers were prone to skipping daily activities, such as social and professional events in order to keep playing. Over 50 percent of respondents admitted they sacrificed sleep while over 38 percent often went without food.
  5. A lot more Singaporean gamers are seeing esports as a viable career option, with 38 percent saying they would go professional if they could.

That’s interesting data! Here’s what I think for some additional info.

More people are playing and watching games on-the-go

Given the rapid advances in mobile technology and game streaming sites like YouTube and Twitch, it’s not hard to see why this is happening. Nowadays, most media content is accessible with the push of a button. With dedicated gaming phones like the Razer Phone 2 already on the market and with more to come, these numbers are bound to increase. In fact, mobile devices have already become the preferred gaming platform for many people, soaring past consoles and computers alike.

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Also, in recent years, watching games has become as much of a topic as gaming itself, and many companies have already staked their claim on the piece of land called the streaming industry. Google is the latest to join the fray with their new Stadia, which we consider a digital stadium of sorts. It’s already a multi-billion dollar industry, with developers constantly trying to one-up each other to grab the biggest slice of the pie. Well, when you put it that way, I guess this competition is partially responsible for the increased media consumption too.

Virtual vs. Physical Collections

In any case, it’s not just the accessibility to content that has increased, but also the variety. Gamers nowadays enjoy a multitude of titles from different genres, which makes the maintenance of physical collections rather time-consuming and inefficient. I mean, why bother going all the way to the store to get a game when you could just download it? It’s only logical. Which brings us to the next menu item: downloads vs. physical games.

 

According to the report, almost 80% of gamers in Singapore preferred keeping a virtual collection of games over a physical collection. With the introduction of cloud technology, it’s never been simpler. Some games don’t even have a physical version anymore, for that matter.

Furthermore, most store-bought games nowadays include single-use codes which are meant to curb exploitation and piracy. However, this is a double-edged sword. Although it does help against piracy, it also means people can’t “borrow” games from their friends anymore. On its own, this already limits the usefulness of physical games immensely, but coupled with the fact that cloud sharing is a thing, there’s little to no incentive to snag physical copies over virtual ones anymore. Unless there’s limited edition stuff inside, but that’s besides the point.

Remember to keep your gaming in check

Although the game industry has shown exponential growth, it’s not entirely a good thing. There’s always the issue of addiction.

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Over half of the respondents admitted to sacrificing either food or sleep in order to play games. That’s a big no-no. Indulging a little more on holidays, off days or weekends is perfectly reasonable but it shouldn’t become a habit, nor should gaming ever be prioritised over basic needs like eating or drinking.

Medical complications aside, gaming addiction presents a sizable social problem in some countries. Throughout the past few years, there have been a growing number of cases where people game non-stop for days. Some of them even die as a result of overexertion. The most recent one was of a 13-year old boy in the Philippines who was hand-fed by his mother.

Fortunately, nothing serious came out of it in the end. However, it’s still worrying for parents and governments alike that gaming addictions might become a significant problem among their youth. Singapore seems especially vulnerable, since games are often within arm’s reach. That said, addiction can rupture any society if it spirals out of control, not just our little red dot. So, while gaming is definitely fun, do keep an eye on how much you play!

Is esports actually viable as a career in Singapore?

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you played games for a living? Don’t be shy to admit it, I think we gamers have all been there. Based on the report, more and more people are thinking about that as well. In fact, over a third of Singaporean gamers would jump straight into professional esports if they could!

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To be honest, this isn’t too surprising either.

In 2018 alone, esports has received a ton of recognition internationally, both as a sport and professional discipline. The increased recognition naturally leads to more people perceiving it as a viable career option. After all, for some people the key to happiness is to love what you do. What better deal is there for a gamer than to make a living playing his favourite title? However, considering Singapore’s current context, I think it’s not that viable for us. Yet.

The main limiting factor is opportunity. By and large, previous esports events here didn’t give aspiring gamers much traction in the professional scene. Not to mention that there weren’t that many events to begin with. Fortunately, that seems to be changing. The PVP Community initiative Singtel launched recently will spearhead Singapore’s foray into the current generation of competitive esports, which is great. That being said, these changes will take time, which is why I feel the viability of esports as a career has not fully matured in Singapore.

PVP Community 2019

PVP Community launch event

But at the end of the day, we have to step back and see the bigger picture. Amidst all the glitz and glamour, esports is like any professional field — people tend to see only the success stories. For every successful cyber athlete, there are thousands more who tried and didn’t quite make it. So, while I fully support any aspiring gamer looking to make their mark (ganbatte!), it’s important not to put all your eggs into one basket.

Image: Overwatch

Kenneth Ang

Kenneth Ang

Kenneth is your dedicated jack of all trades gamer and borderline anime nut. When not writing, he likes to wind down with Overwatch, Apex Legends and a bit of Fate: Grand Order on the side.