Computer game-crazy Singaporeans are willing to pay more than a hundred dollars a year to fuel their hobby.
A study by game-market research firm Newzoo has revealed that Singapore tops the list of annual spending per player for games in South-east Asia.
According to the company's latest market report, Singaporeans spent an average of US$189 (S$250) each last year on games across all platforms, more than five times as much as the next highest-spending country in the region - Malaysia, at US$33.
Newzoo attributes it to Singapore's high standard of living and strong economy - despite it having the lowest percentage of mobile gamers who will pay for their fun, at 29 per cent.
The report examined how much gamers spent and game revenues in six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The figures consider all segments - mobile phones, tablet devices, casual web-games, consoles and PC games. They include all types of spending, such as in-app purchases and the full cost of buying an app or console game.
In global terms, Japan tops the list at US$322, while Singapore comes in seventh.
Mr Marc Einstein, an analyst from market research company Frost & Sullivan, believes Singapore's Internet infrastructure and high tablet and smartphone penetration create a big market for mobile and online gaming.
He said the figure may be skewed by a small proportion of gamers who spend a lot of money on games, compared to a larger proportion who opt for free-to-play games.
"Up to 90 per cent of game revenue comes from 10 per cent of players," said Mr Einstein.
Local game developers say this bodes well for the growing game-development industry in Singapore.
Mr David Ng, chief executive of game-development firm gumi Asia, said: "This confirms the fact that Singapore is an important market for customer acquisition.
"Volume-wise, the number of customers might be small, but Singapore players do spend more as they have access to credit cards and the ability to easily pay for online products."
IT consultant Benjamin Chew estimates that he once spent almost $800 in a year on the mobile game Castle Clash. The 30-year- old said: "For such games, there are perks to spending. I was chasing the leader board then and paying for in-app purchases gave me a competitive edge."
The report also estimates that 85 per cent of game industry growth by 2017 will come from Asia, and that South-east Asia may be an easier point of entry than China for Western game developers in the region.
Singapore's total game revenue last year - US$201.6 million - trails behind those of Thailand (US$230.3 million) and Malaysia (US$214.2 million).
The Media Development Authority (MDA) noted that the game industry is Singapore's fastest-growing media sub-sector, thanks to the growing game market in South-east Asia.
MDA assistant chief executive of industry Angeline Poh said: "Game developers and publishers here benefit not just from having a strong home market, but also the advantage of operating from one of the most well-connected hubs in the world to make and deliver games to their customers in and beyond South-east Asia."
This article was first published on May 12, 2015.
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