Google invests in Southeast Asia’s indie games industry

The participants for the first-ever Google Indie Games accelerator pose for a picture.


Google

Google sees potential in Southeast Asia, and it’s doing something about it.

The internet giant is almost done with its first-ever Indie Game Accelerator program. 32 start-ups from around the region are attending an all-expenses-paid bootcamp where they’re learning about game development, business development and office management.

Google chose Southeast Asia, and not Silicon Valley, for the inaugural program because of the region’s potential. Google says it’s expected to be worth $240 billion come 2025, with mobile gaming expected to hit $19 billion in the same year.

Google also pointed out that Southeast Asian developers are making bank, with revenue growing two times year-on-year.

To help drive this growth, Google is investing in local forms of payment, including carrier billing, and gift cards. This means that users in Southeast Asia and India can pay for apps and in-app purchases through 25 partnered carriers, while others can buy gift cards at 42,000 retail outlets in the region.

The strategy, Google says, has paid off, with 80 percent of users in the region using these forms of payments, while the remaining 20 percent of users are still using credit cards.

Another tactic is letting developers set localised pricing for developing economies, as well as letting them price below $1, to as low as 10 Indian rupees, or about 15 cents. This has helped users in countries with lower incomes to be able to afford apps and in-app purchases.

The first Indie Game Accelerator program won’t be the last — Google is already seeking attendees for next year’s program.


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