The Phillippines has the largest Esports Market in Southeast Asia in 2023

esports market southeast asia 2023 Philippines first
The eSports Market in Southeast Asia by 2023

The eSports industry is growing every year in almost all regions worldwide. New video games enter the eSports space every month, which is why a lot more people follow their favourite teams and players.

Speaking of the growth of eSports, some regions are much more popular than others, and one of them is Southeast Asia. In fact, shows us that the Philippines is the leading country in this part of the world regarding the eSports market, with a revenue of around $22.2B. “This number is impressive because it makes the Philippines one of the world’s leaders in eSports. A lot of you may be surprised, but people who follow some games like Dota 2 probably expected it. After all, many top-tier tournaments occur in this country”, said Veselin, NB’s eSports expert.

The Philippines is a fascinating country in terms of eSports. In fact, the Games and Amusements Board even recognized eSports as a real sport in 2017, which means that people who consider themselves eSports players are real athletes.

esports market southeast asia 2023

Another interesting fact is that the country added eSports as a medal event during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which took place there. In other words, the Philippines embraces the idea of being the leader in Southeast Asia when it comes to eSports, and it continues setting the trends.

Even though Dota 2 is extremely popular in the country, people also follow League of Legends. Valorant is also big, especially in the last couple of years. The game has a huge following in this part of the world.

In terms of the best teams in the country, we can include the likes of TNC Predator, Blacklist International, and more. With that said, let’s learn more about the other countries.

Thailand – $19.7B

When talking about eSports and Southeast Asia, most people probably expected Malaysia to be in second place on the list. However, the surprising results reveal that Thailand is second on the list. The latest data shows that the country’s eSports market is valued at around $19.7B, making it 2x more than the number 3 on our list.

If we analyze the stats, we can see that the growth of the eSports industry in the country is around 8.50% every year. Some data even predict that the country should have more than 10M fans by 2028 eSports enthusiasts by 2028, which is really impressive.

Like its neighbouring countries, Thailand is home to many big eSports tournaments, teams, and players. Regarding the games that users are interested in, League of Legends has a very strong presence. Dota 2 also has its share of loyal fans, but locals are also interested in things like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans.

In addition to these games, we can include Arena of Valor, Free Fire, PUBG, Valorant, Apex Legends, and more. Interestingly, some of the country’s most successful international eSports players are focusing on Dota 2. If we check authoritative sources covering players’ winnings, we can see that Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong is leading the chart with more than $1.2M in earnings.

As for the events, 2023 was an interesting year because the country hosted things like the PUBG Global Championship 2023. Experts predict that Thailand will be the go-to option for many top events in 2024 and 2025.

Indonesia – $9.7B

The third place on the list of countries with the largest eSports market in Southeast Asia is as surprising as the second one. People who are not that interested in video games don’t even know about the importance of Indonesia in this industry. However, it’s safe to say that the country is one of the biggest players in it.

When talking about Indonesia, there are a lot of popular games that fans play here. Dota 2 is the leading MOBA title, but we can see many other popular games if we analyse the stats. Free Fire is leading the chart, followed by Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and PUBG Mobile. These three titles combined with Dota 2 set the trends, but you can find tournaments for loads of other titles.

In terms of the tournaments, Indonesia has been home to a lot of different options. As for the best eSports players in the country, Rafi Fathur “Mikoto” Rahman is leading and is one of the best Dota 2 players. Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon is also a popular name, and the same applies to Kenny “Xepher” Deo. Overall, Indonesia has a promising future in eSports.

Singapore – $8B

Despite being among the smallest countries in Asia, Singapore is one of the richest ones, which reflects on everything, including eSports. The data shows that it is one of the leading states in this industry, especially in games like Dota 2.

Perhaps the first name that comes to mind when talking about eSports and Singapore is Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang. He is among the living legends in Dota 2 and one of the icons in the game. That’s why it’s no surprise that Valve’s title is really big.

Aside from Dota 2, people in Singapore are also interested in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Valorant, Brawl Stars, and even League of Legends. Interestingly, Counter-Strike 2 is also growing in popularity, which is interesting because the game is not that big in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam – $5.8B

The eSports scene in Vietnam is slightly different than in other Southeast Asian countries. While games like Dota 2 dominate elsewhere, this title is not big in Vietnam. Instead, people there prefer to play different games like League of Legends.

What’s interesting is that Vietnam is one of the go-to places for Arena of Valor. This game has a massive following in the country from all age groups, so it’s no surprise it has millions of active players. In fact, some of the best AoV players in the world come from Vietnam.

Something very intriguing about the eSports industry in Vietnam is related to the people interested in it and the devices they’re using. According to some studies, around 58% of eSports players use a smartphone, whereas 39.5% choose a PC. That’s one of the reasons why Vietnam is among the leaders when it comes down to mobile titles.

Malaysia – $5.3B

The last country in terms of eSports revenue for 2023, with $5.3B is Malaysia. This is probably one of the most surprising results for many of you, especially those who follow the Dota 2 scene up close. Malaysia is one of the biggest countries when it comes down to this game, but it seems like the local scene is not that big for other titles.

If we analyze the available games, events, and prize pools, we can see that Dota 2 is responsible for around 90% of the revenue. The country has always been home to some of the best players in the world, many of whom have been playing for years. The list includes names like Yap “xNova” Jian Wei, Zheng “MidOne” Yeik Nai, Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, and many more.

Malaysia is also among the hottest options for the biggest Dota 2 tournaments. For example, the last event in 2023, ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023, occurred in the country’s capital.

Aside from Dota 2, PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang are also fairly popular.

Esports Betting in Southeast Asia

Since the eSports industry is booming in Southeast Asia, it is no surprise that many people are interested in betting. After all, many of the big bookmakers sponsor the leading teams, which has an effect on their popularity.

For better or worse, the gambling laws in these Southeast Asian countries are strict. The Philippines is an exception to the rule because the country has gambling laws that regulate online sports betting, and those websites often include various eSports options.

Sadly, this is not the case in the second country on our list – Thailand. Online gambling is still illegal in the country, and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is in an active campaign against it. Only time will tell whether something will change.

It probably does not come as a surprise that Indonesia is in a similar boat to Thailand. Online betting is not allowed, so those who want to wager on eSports have to find sites operating elsewhere or not place bets at all.

Singapore has dynamic gambling laws, and although it could be illegal, some betting sites operate in the country. Therefore, people may have the chance to wager on their favorite eSport.

Gambling in Vietnam has been illegal for a long time, so local eSports betting fans do not have access to any sites operating in the country. Malaysia is slightly different in this regard because some forms of gambling are legal, such as horse racing. However, sports betting is usually not accepted, so locals search for offshore eSports betting websites to bet on Dota 2 and other games.

Kristiyan Kyulyunkov
Kristiyan KyulyunkovKristiyan Kyulyunkov specializes in bookmakers’ analyses. He has years of experience betting online and always keeps an eye on the different operators. His tasks in Nostrabet include writing, editing and publishing expert reviews.

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