The Asian Internet cafe or cybercafe culture that usually consists of near-endless sessions of DOTA and Starcraft II looks like it's not going to die off anytime soon. A recent report from business intelligence and consulting firm Pearl Research recently predicted that Internet cafes in Asia would generate more than $19 billion in revenue in 2011.
According to the report--which covers China, Korea, Taiwan, India, and Vietnam--cafes are a prime target for PC and hardware manufacturers for their respective regions. The report also found that there are more than 350,000 shops all across the covered regions, with some of the bigger cafes in China (which can house about 200 PCs) earning up to $500,000 within a year. Over in Korea, the report found that gamers tend to head down to Internet cafes (called "PC bangs" in the local terminology) to play Aion, one of the most-played massively multiplayer online games in the region, despite the fact that 82 percent of Korean households own a PC.
Over in India and Vietnam, cafes are much smaller and usually have fewer than 20 seats on average. Actual numbers on how much every cafe earns per year in those respective countries, according to Pearl Research, varies too much because there are very few chains there.
The excerpts from the report also detail that game operators and publishers within the region will require a dedicated sales team, a sound pricing bundle for software and hardware, and special marketing and promotions in order to work well with Internet cafes. The most common problems Internet cafes in Asia face when planning to sustain their model in the long term are high real estate and labor costs, increasing government scrutiny, consumers who would much rather play at home, and the negative reputation of the Internet cafe culture.