Several new reports from research firm Niko Partners reveals that China's gaming population is mostly made up of PC gamers and mobile players. According to data from two reports, the "Chinese Gamers Report 2013," and the "Quarterly Home Gamer Survey and Monthly I-café Games Usage Data," China has 208 million PC gamers and 288 million mobile game players this year.
iCafe (internet cafe) gaming has fallen from the top spot below "offices" as a key gaming location for PC gamers this year, with only 17 percent of play in iCafe, vs 19 percent taking place at the office/work, and 64 percent at home.
Chinese gamers say that the top reason they select a particular game is based on the "best in genre." Two years ago the top reason was based on "what friends are playing."
The firm describes the WeChat Game Center as a "game changer," noting that the new channel for games distribution in a market where nearly 300 million people already play games is very powerful. WeChat is a popular cross-platform chat program that is very popular in China. While the channel currently has a limited catalog of games, it is growing and popular amongst gamers in China. The firm says that a key reason for the appeal is its "social functionality."
Niko says that the recently overturned 13-year ban on consoles in China coupled with the announcement concerning the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (companies that are outside China must build their consoles in the region in order to sell them in China) is a good thing for the industry, but notes that "gamers who have wanted to play games on consoles have already had ample opportunity through widespread grey market sales."
The report also finds that people who "prioritize Sports & Fitness as a primary activity in their lives" also spend a lot of time on games, but people who prioritize Shopping or Movies, or KTV (karaoke) are less likely to spend time on games.
"Chinese gamers are no longer defined as 18-24 year old males competitively playing MMOGs with their friends, though that group remains important,” said Kevin Hause, senior partner of Niko Partners. "We now observe on either side of that group that kids engage with simple mobile games and middle-aged gamers continue to play MMORPGs and multiple mobile games."
You can find out more about these reports at nikopartners.com.