In 2007, Singapore had around 500 gamers. 10 years later in 2017, this number has grown to a whopping 1.4 million. More esports tournaments are being held here, and players stand to earn upwards of US$1 million when they compete.
The gaming market in Singapore is expected to be worth US$138 million by 2024, and the Singapore Tourism Board has even taken notice of this growth as it implements a tour of gaming hotspots in Singapore.
Coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has further grown — 47 per cent of respondents in a survey stated that they played video games more often than before the pandemic.
Beyond game designers and developers, businesses have also sprung up to cash in on the burgeoning gaming industry and support the rapidly increasing number of gamers in Singapore.
Boosting Singapore’s tech credentials
In early 2012, Aftershock was founded to give Singaporeans an option for cheaper PCs while still maintaining quality specs.
The company strongly believes that the gaming community in Singapore has significantly contributed to its growth thus far.
According to Jonathan Teo, Aftershock PC’s marketing lead, the gaming community’s support has been a crucial driving force, and the community’s trust and strong advocacy have been critical contributors to the company’s success.
This support has also translated into rewards and accolades for Aftershock, with the company winning HardWareZone’s awards for the best gaming desktop PC brand and best gaming notebook in 2022.
“Our rapid growth in the past decade could not have been achieved without the community’s support, and we continue to rely on their goodwill as we face an ever-changing custom PC market,” said Teo.
The company also saw a boost during the Covid-19 pandemic, with a 53 per cent increase in business since the previous year, reaching S$65 million in revenue.
While it is certainly true that some PCs have been purchased for the express purpose of working from home, Aftershock also understands that with the lines between work and leisure being blurred, a significant portion of customers have also purchased PCs for both working from home as well as entertainment.
As part of their efforts to give back to the community, Aftershock has also invested into the community’s growth by increasing sponsorships for local streamers, content creators, and competitions. A recent example of this is Aftershock’s support of the launch of Good Game Asia, a reality TV show that features online streamers and gamers competing for a prize pool of S$200,000.
Bringing Singapore to the world, and the world to Singapore
It’s not just building gaming setups that brings in the money, as Secretlab founders Alaric Choo and Ian Ang are well aware of.
As former professional gamers themselves, they know all too well that long periods of sitting down can be uncomfortable, and as such, they set out to do something that would revolutionise the gaming experience for many Singaporeans — they designed a chair specifically for gaming.
The brand has become internationally famous, with even chess world champion Magnus Carlsen picking one of Secretlab’s chairs when he plays in online events.
Beyond just helping gamers get more comfortable while gaming, Secretlab has also been active in putting Singapore in the spotlight in terms of esports and gaming. The company supports local talents, such as star Dota player Daryl Koh, who goes by the name iceiceice.
According to Alaric Choo, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Secretlab, the journey of such players mirrors Secretlab’s own.
“Not only is their resolve against staggering odds something that we can intimately identify with, their success on the world stage is hugely inspirational to many budding pro-gamers and enthusiasts here in Singapore,” he said.
In addition, Secretlab has also established partnerships with other companies in the gaming industry, including Valve, which develops Dota.
The company’s partnerships have also paid off. This year, the largest esports event in the world will be held in Singapore. Known as The International, the event is an esports tournament for video game Dota 2, and has held the distinction of having the biggest prize pool in esports history for several years in a row.
“Having been a part of all these world championship-tier esports tournaments, we’ve had front row seats to the growth of the local gaming scene and it’s come a long way since my own days of competing professionally — and there’ll be more to come,” said Choo.
Building the gaming culture of the future
So far, we’ve heard about how Singaporean companies are supporting the gaming community in Singapore by providing them hardware and comfort. But what about developing the gaming culture in Singapore?
As it turns out, this is exactly what ‘future culture’ company Mighty Jaxx is doing. It is already well-known for their collectibles, with their XXRAY figures and many more lines of beloved fan favourites.
The company is also dedicated to expanding the range of collectibles that gamers are fond of. It recently acquired local startups Kinetiquette and PLAYe, adding some popular titles such as Monster Hunter, SNK King of Fighters, and more to its host of IPs.
In addition, Mighty Jaxx has also been integrating new tech into their collectibles. At Right Click + Save, Singapore’s first large-scale NFT exhibition, the company unveiled a figurine called Doge To The Moon: Boss Edition. The figurine itself came with an NFT collectible that could prove the figurine’s authenticity.
This blending of physical and digital is the next step for Singapore’s gaming culture, and Mighty Jaxx is making a name for itself thorough their phygital collectibles.
Like Secretlab and Aftershock, Mighty Jaxx also credits support from the gaming community in Singapore for its success, and is grateful for the support that it has received.
“The growth of the gaming community in recent years has caused an increase in demand for gaming-related merchandise, and we see it as an opportunity to extend our customer base,” said Aw.
“For the gaming community, most additional paid products are within the game itself. There is a high demand for complementary products, but offerings are limited so the rise in prominence of the gaming community in Singapore directly and indirectly translates to a rise in sales.”
As gaming in Singapore becomes more mainstream, an entire industry has been built around catering to gamers in Singapore — quality custom PCs, gaming furniture, collectibles, and more.
But more than that, these industries have also served to turn gaming from something seen as a waste of time, into a respectable form of recreation that can be turned into its own form of success.
Featured Image Credit: Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association