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The game's not quite afoot in Asia
Here's another good article from the Star Online: TechCentral.

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite an increasing enthusiasm for the online games market in Asia Pacific over the past year, most countries in the region managed to record only "modest" growths in online games penetration.

IDC's latest study, Asia Pacific Online Gaming Demand-Side Overview, found that South Korea enjoyed the highest online gaming penetration in Asia Pacific, but others were lagging.

"Even though the Asia Pacific online games industry has changed noticeably in the past two years, the actual online gamer has not seen much of an evolution,� said Chin Jun-Fwu, senior analyst of software research at IDC Malaysia (www.idc.com.my).

�The industry's perception of an online gamer as a male teenager is not that far from the truth. In fact, this is a factor that has not changed much in the past (few) years," he added.

A very important component of online games is the role that broadband plays, the market research firm said in a statement.

South Korea, China (and Hong Kong), Singapore and Taiwan top the region in online games penetration. These countries also have relatively high broadband penetration, except for China.

Despite the low broadband penetration in China, the high availability of 24x7 cybercaf�s in the country have kept its online games industry robust, IDC said.

These results are based on a recent IDC survey of over 5,000 urban Internet users in seven Asian countries. Free online games have always drawn a large population of gamers, many of whom do not consider themselves to be online gamers.

Although majority of such free games are casual games, IDC has included, as part of the survey's games category, hardcore and serious games such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).

While online gaming was a predominantly male-dominated activity in the region, 54% of the gaming population in Singapore are females, who are attracted to the free-of-charge online games available.

IDC expects online games providers to target this group by developing casual or "more feminine" online games, which require subscription fees.

Despite the modest regional growth, IDC believes that the regional online games industry is set for several years of strong growth prompted by advanced infrastructure, high availability of gaming subscription, and ever-evolving and more impressive games.

For more information about the research above or to purchase the data, contact Ivy Lok at (852) 2905-4232 or e-mail her at ilok@idc.com.


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