New research released by Newzoo digs a little deeper into the lucrative Chinese and Korean online gaming markets. The research focused on the 190 million Chinese (76 percent) and 26 million Korean (60 percent) consumers ages 15 to 50 – who make up the majority of those who play games in those countries. Newzoo found that both countries were passionate about MMO games, with 100 million MMO gamers in China and 8 million in Korea. While both countries enjoy games, players in each country have different preferences when it comes to social and mobile gaming.
In Korea, 80 percent of all gamers play on a mobile device, while in China, casual game websites and games on social networks attract 85 percent of gamers. Chinese gamers are also much more willing to pay for games than Korean players. In Korea, 52 percent of gamers never spend money on games – comparable to the US with 53 percent – while this number drops to 36 percent in China. Payment preferences also differ greatly: in general, Koreans prefer mobile payments or credit cards while Chinese players like to use online or prepaid payment methods.
Similar to Western countries, more than 40 percent of gamers are female in both China (43 percent) and Korea (41 percent). Chinese gamers are slightly younger: 71 percent are younger than 35, compared to 65 percent in Korea. Newzoo also found that Koreans play more at home, while Chinese gamers are more likely to play at internet cafes.
The three dominant Chinese social networks – Qzone, RenRen, and Kaixin – are used by 85 percent, 65 percent, and 53 percent of users respectively. Almost 50 percent of total Internet time spent goes to social networks and more than one third of that is spent playing games. Approximately 45 percent of the 125 million Chinese social gamers also spend money, resulting in a 13 percent share of total game spending. In Korea, only 20 percent of Internet time goes to social networks. Only 15 percent is spent on gaming and the group of 8 million social gamers who actually pay is much lower than in China.
Mobile gaming only accounts for a 12 percent budget share spent overall on games in Korea, while spending is significantly higher in China. There, growth in mobile games spending will be driven by the increasing number of gamers; in Korea, it will come from a higher conversion of players into payers, according to Newzoo.