Report: In Asia, Singaporeans spend the most time playing video games

Singaporeans spend more than seven hours a week playing video or online games, more than those in Japan and South Korea, who spend less than seven hours weekly. — AFP pic
Singaporeans spend more than seven hours a week playing video or online games, more than those in Japan and South Korea, who spend less than seven hours weekly. — AFP pic

SINGAPORE, March 21 — Singaporeans spend the most time playing video games compared with other gamers in Asia.

At the global level, they also spend a huge amount of time gaming, coming behind the Americans and Germans, a study by content delivery network operator Limelight Networks showed.

A spokesperson from the American company told TODAY that some 505 gamers in Singapore were surveyed this year, and they clocked an average of seven hours and 26 minutes a week playing games.

This is higher than those in other Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan, where the average number of hours spent gaming was less than seven hours in both countries.

For the Americans, they chalked up an average of seven hours and 36 minutes a week.

And as for the Germans, it is seven hours and 58 minutes a week — the highest worldwide.

Following the trend of digital content being consumed on-the-go, the Singaporean gamers surveyed said that they play games most frequently on their mobile phones.

Their most frequent choice? Casual, single-player games such as Candy Crush.

Missing sleep, showers and dates

In the survey, more than half of the Singaporean gamers reported that they have missed sleep because they were playing games, while about a third said that they had skipped a meal, a shower, time with friends or even a date in order to play video games.

However, about six in 10 Singaporean gamers said that they never play video games during work.

Interviewing gamers who are not part of the survey, TODAY found that there are those whose appetites for games are even greater.

Mark Cheng, 20, a university student, told TODAY that he can play up to 48 hours of video games in a week and he has skipped work, time with friends and sleep to catch game tournaments or “super hyped” gaming sessions.

However, he stressed that he will choose games over meeting friends only if he believes that playing games will be more fun, and will choose games over studying only if there is a small and unimportant assignment due.

Better than watching sports

The survey by Limelight Networks also found that on average, Singaporean gamers spend more time watching other people play video games — on platforms such as Twitch and Youtube Gaming — than watching traditional sports such as football on television or online.

There is a similar trend in countries such as South Korea and Japan, but not in the other countries that were part of the survey.

Ahmad Zaki Yahya, 34, a journalist, is not unlike those surveyed. He said that he watches video game “streamers” as casual entertainment because the “streamers” often crack jokes as they are playing. The focus then is not so much on the gameplay itself.

Streamers are gamers who live-stream themselves playing video games for audiences on websites such as Twitch.

Zaki added that the experience is different from watching traditional sports games, where there is “more tension” due to a greater emphasis on winners and losers.

Globally, the biggest increase in time spent gaming was seen among those aged between 26 and 45 — a 25 per cent jump from last year.

Gamers aged 18 to 25 also increased their average playing time by 9.9 per cent to seven hours and 46 minutes a week.

Giving a glimpse of why so much time is taken up for the activity, Chan U-Gene, 36, a business development manager, said: “Once I buy games such as Red Dead Redemption, I will play the game compulsively until I complete the game — so much so that my wife often laments that I can be a zombie.”

He takes pleasure, he said, in seeing how games have improved the years, in terms of their storyline, graphics and technology. — TODAY