According to market research and consulting firm Niko Partners, China’s domestic mobile gaming revenue grew 31% year-on-year to $29.2 billion in 2020.
Niko Partners drew attention to the COVID-19 outbreak
Immediately after the Chinese government imposed home stay restrictions across the country for a long period of time due to COVID-19, the local game market began to change and develop rapidly. “While China has mostly returned to normal, the pandemic and the resulting restrictions have led to major changes in player behavior, engagement, and spending throughout the year,” said Lisa Hanson, founder, and president of Niko Partners.
China’s overall video games market is estimated to reach $ 55 billion by 2025, with 781 million players. By the end of 2020, 682 million of China’s 1.4 billion people are already mobile gamers, up 7% year on year. Niko Partners predicts that the total number of mobile players will reach 748 million by 2025.
Niko Partners stated that companies are finding better ways to monetize their growing user population. In addition, monthly average revenue per user and player spending on a monthly basis increased last year.
At the same time, the epidemic has affected the PC gaming market. In the past year, although the total number of PC gamers in China increased by 1.4% to 325.4 million, PC gaming revenue actually fell 4.9% to $13.9 billion, highlighting the growing popularity of mobile over PC-based gaming. As can be guessed, most computer gamers also play mobile games. Niko Partners estimates that the number of PC gamers will not increase significantly in the coming years and will reach only 335.3 million by 2025. The estimated number seems to be less than half of the 2025 mobile gamers.
For now, however, PC games still account for more than 32% of total Chinese gaming revenue and about 45% of gamers, and Niko Partners predicts the industry will return to growth in 2022.
Tencent and NetEase continue to be China’s top two game publishers, but face increased competition from other major tech companies and mid-sized gaming companies. Tencent is reportedly facing a fine of at least $1.5 billion as a result of an ongoing “anti-trust” investigation, but Reuters said sources with knowledge of the matter said its core gaming activities could escape the investigation unscathed.