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Why Mobile Legends is so popular in South East Asia (SEA) region

The MOBA genre has seen an big rise in popularity

Mobile gaming has been on the rise since the advent of the first smartphones and became one of the largest platforms. It has the same charms as every gaming platform there is. Moreover, it adds portability and convenience to its perks. As the popularity of mobile games rises, the competitiveness of games also rises which results in the creation of better games. Mobile Legends is a product of such a mobile gaming master race and in this article, we’ll discuss why particularly the game is popular in South East Asia (SEA) region.

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game or MOBA for short released in 2016 by Moontoon. MLBB is one of the pioneers of large-scale esports for the mobile gaming platform, which also starts to rival the huge world tournament from those of larger platforms like PC and Consoles.

MLBB, albeit a huge success in the whole world, is especially very huge in the Southeast Asian Region where almost every individual, at least heard of or even played the game. It is also in this region where the biggest of the Mobile Legends tournaments are being held.

Mobile legends is also present as an Esport event in the ASEAN games which is essentially a mini Olympics with only people from Southeast Asia are allowed to participate and represent their countries. So what makes MLBB so popular to the people of Southeast Asia?

best moba, popular moba
Warcraft III, DOTA 2, League of legends. (left to right respectively)

To know this, we would need to go back to the roots of the gaming community of the region. Way before Mobile Legends: Bang Bang was released people around these regions probably have memories of going to computer shops to play a game that all of us gamers are probably very familiar with, DOTA or Defense of the Ancients. This is a game mode from another classic Warcraft III which can arguably be called the grandfather of every MOBA game that we see and enjoy to this day.

The love of the region for the MOBA genre only grew stronger as it spread to much more audience and more casual gamers which could also be attributed to the advent or the rise of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. But why? Here are some of the numerous reasons why MLBB spread like wildfire and caught the attention of the gaming community of the Southeast Asian region.

  • MOBA – As said above, people from the SEA region love their MOBA games. Be it from the original DOTA 1 to LoL and DOTA 2, and ultimately MLBB. As seen from a demographic graph from daytranslations.com League of Legends is up to date still considered one of the largest games in the region especially the Philippines with only Persona 5 as a competitor for the region.
  • Convenience – Mobile Legends has one edge over its PC competitors and this is its convenience due to it being on the mobile platform. People can pop one game while being stuck in traffic everywhere and be good to go.
  • Accessibility to the platform – For the SEA region as most parts are developing countries. Having a gaming pc or gaming console is considered a luxury that many people can’t afford. However decent phones are much cheaper and most people can use them for other purposes so most people would just choose the practicality of the mobile platform to the relatively more expensive PC and console platforms.

    However, According to statistics from aseanup.com mobile subscriptions from the region even surpasses their population as seen in the table above. This means that most people in the region have access to mobile gaming platforms.
asia's digital population
Image credits – Aseanup.com

There is so much more reason one can think of why Southeast Asians are hooked to Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, but we will stop there as it would be too long of a list.

Overall the MLBB craze in the Southeast Asian region is a testament to how far the mobile gaming industry has progressed into being a real competitor to more traditional gaming platforms, and this sparks excitement in the gamers spirit in all of us, as this the start of more and more improvements that we are now starting to see.

Mobile Legends, Mobile Legends SABER skin line
Mobile Legends SABER skin line

From new competitors like League of Legends Wild Rift to other mobile game releases from Famous game franchises, the mobile gaming platform will surely continue growing as developers become more competitive.

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