“Hey! Which game? Counter-Strike, Age of Empires, Dota, or Red Alert? I challenge you!” These were the most exciting questions and shout-outs amongst teens in the internet cafe scene of Myanmar around 15 years back. Gaming trends emerged in Myanmar with the advent of internet cafes. The technology was embryonic, and things were crude—but it didn’t suppress one’s quest for gaming. Connecting LAN routers, creating servers, and then praying for uninterrupted electricity supply, that’s how gaming surfaced in Myanmar.
According to a stats shared by the World Bank, Myanmar is one of the fastest growing economies in the East Asia and Pacific region as well as globally despite being a lower-middle income economy with a GNI per capita of $1455 in 2017. The poverty rate has declined from 44.5% in 2004 to 26.1% in 2015, and the country is striving hard to flourish in its economy. Gaming has not been on the forefront of this country due to high poverty rate, however, gaming is storming the arena nowadays and people of this country are coming up with new and advanced trends to establish the industry.
Let’s review what people usually like to play in Myanmar and how gaming has transformed over the past few decades.
What people like to play?
In Myanmar, most of the people prefer playing MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online). Dota is the hot-favorite game of youth in Myanmar, and several gaming tournaments feature Dota gaming challenges. Moreover, World of Warcraft is also among the top-most MMO games played in Myanmar. On the other hand, Call of Duty and Counter-Strike are the most common combat games that people prefer playing and Counter-Strike tournaments are also very famous in the country.
Besides MMO games, Myanmar is also seeing a growth in mobile games. This could largely be associated to the recent liberalization of the telecommunications sector, mobile and internet penetration which has increased significantly from less than 20% and 10% in 2014 to 60% and 25% respectively in 2016 as reported by the World Bank stats. Around 60-80% of people in Myanmar now own a smartphone, and among the mobile games, Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans are the most popular ones.
Game Developers rocking the Arena
Despite lacking facilities for formal education in game development, startups are utilizing limited resources to develop some mind-blowing games. A few developers have equipped themselves with skills in other countries, and now, they have returned to their homeland to populate the gaming arena. Here are a few startups that are strengthening the roots of the gaming industry in Myanmar.
A group of young developers formed Kodots Game Studio that took their game development passion to an apex. The first-ever game developed by Kodots was DarkEnd. Surprisingly, the members of the team worked on this game during their free nights as they had full-time jobs during the daytime.
MyPLAY (previously known as Total Gameplay Studio) is one of the top game developers in the country founded in 2013. The company was invited to the Tokyo Game Show to portray their games. Myint Kyaw Thu and his brother, Zaw Ye Myint founded Total Gameplay Studio. Under the umbrella of Total Gameplay Studio, the company released some mind-blowing games including Tamain paw thoot, Myanmar chess, Chin Lone, and Nga Pain’s Thingyan.
After 2015, MyPLAY emerged and rolled out several mesmerizing games. These include SKM world, Opoke Saga, Show City, Children village, Rage of Rama, Lan mataw poe thot, and Age of Bayin naung. MyPLAY participated in Tokyo Game Show 2016 and shook the arena by winning the Best Character Animation award.
Previously called Rival Edge, Joy Dash Studio was founded in Singapore. Its founder, Thet Naing Swe, is among those game developers who equipped themselves with the latest skills and returned to their country for a better cause. Joy Dash Studio has adopted a unique approach in game development. It is explicitly working on producing educational games to target the local market. Thet believes in making education a fun element for children that will enhance their learning. Joy Dash Studio released several games including Show City, Farm Saga, Learn Writing, Typing Dash, Tankrivals.
The Gaming Gods of Myanmar
Team Veteran is a group of Myanmar based professional Dota 2 players. Currently, there are 5 players in the team including ShowTi, Leo, Mystery, Insane and Kenji who is serving as the captain. Formerly, Skill Lay and A4xn3 were also a member of Veteran. The team has a winning rate of 48% and stands at 204th rank internationally. The eGaming team won numerous awards, such as Championship of Go4Dota 2 Southeast Asia Cup 2017, Champion of Global Gaming Cup 2017, Championship of Gigabyte Myanmar 2017. In 2018, the team won Asrock DotA2 Tournament SS 3, Championship of Rise of Legion Dota2, etc. Team Veteran is striving to achieve a better place in the international gaming market.
TNT Dota 2, founded in 2016, is a team of Dota 2 players based in Yangon, Myanmar. They have made their place in the international gaming industry by winning several local and international awards. The team got 7th in the Group Stage for MPGL Asian Championships 2018 which is one of the leading SEA Dota2 tournaments. TNT Dota 2 stood 8th in the World Electronic Sports Games 2017 South Asia & South-East Asia Qualifier. They have also achieved several awards in Pacific Mini Tournaments held in the Philippines.
Wallet Codes in Myanmar
Forest Interactive has recently functionalized one of its services, Wallet Codes in Myanmar. Wallet Codes is, basically, an e-commerce platform that lets you charge your gaming wallets using your mobile credit. You can top up your favorite gaming platforms, such as STEAM and PSN, using Wallet Codes. Under the tagline, No Credit Card, No PayPal, No Problem, the service is available in nine countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the UAE, the Philippines and now Myanmar.
TNT Dota 2―The Brand Ambassador of Wallet Codes Myanmar
TNT Dota 2 is the official brand ambassador of Wallet Codes in Myanmar. Recently, the team has registered itself for the Yangon Aegis Championship, that is one of the biggest Dota 2 tournaments held in Myanmar. Check it out HERE!
Myanmar’s economy is growing day-by-day, but it is still facing some infrastructural issues, such as the lack of a reliable internet connection. Lack of internet facility outside offices and power interruptions are dragging the economy behind. Strengthening of the gaming industry will prevail economic stability in the country.