The Lunar New Year holiday is when we see the highest demand for gaming in China annually. The beginning of the Year of the Tiger was no different according to data from our China Games Streaming Tracker. According to our tracker, Tencent’s Honor of Kings was the most watched game on Chinese game livestreaming platforms during the 2022 Lunar New Year period (Jan 31 – Feb 06), racking up 23 million daily average viewers during the week. League of Legends came in at #2 with 21 million daily viewers while Genshin Impact had 9.4 million daily viewers.
Live streaming is one of the most important parts of the video game and esports industry and our China Games Streaming Tracker includes more than 600 active games across DouYu, Huya and Bilibili. We rank the top game titles by streaming hours, streamers, website heat index, fans, viewers and virtual gifts to streamers (tips). Niko’s Tracker shines a light on the importance of streamers to the games industry in China and it also helps our clients identify the hot games and trends in the market, and the streamers driving that growth.
According to Niko’s Tracker, total viewers across DouYu, Huya and Bilibili during the Lunar New Year 2022 period increased 24% over the 2021 Lunar New Year period. The total number of streamers increased 9.1% YoY, total hours streamed increased 15.4% YoY, but the total amount spent on virtual gifts to streamers declined 27.9% YoY. We suspect that spending shifted to other entertainments or formats such as short video, and that more viewers became non-spenders.
MOBA games dominated the chart during the 2022 Lunar New Year period. Honor of Kings ranked #1 on our streaming tracker and was also the #1 mobile game by revenue during the period according to data from Sensor Tower, while League of Legends was #1 on PC by revenue according to Niko Partners data. League of Legends: Wild Rift charted at #5 on our streaming tracker, up 15 places, and was the #4 highest grossing iOS game in China according to Sensor Tower. Wild Rift officially launched in mainland China during October 2021 and has been a top performing game on our streaming tracker since. Chinese esports team Da Kun Gaming recently won the Wild Rift Horizon Cup and the China Wild Rift League S1 is set to kick off next month.
Battle Royale games also dominated the chart during the 2022 Lunar New Year period. Peacekeeper Elite ranked #5 on our streaming tracker and was the #1 most downloaded iOS game during the period according to data from Sensor Tower. Naraka Bladepoint from NetEase charted at #6 on our streaming tracker. The martial arts battle royale game has been a global hit, selling more than 7 million copies, and setting a record for the fastest selling premium game in China. The game also held its first ever World Championship esports event where JTeam won $1.5 million in prize money. Apex Legends charted at #8 on our streaming tracker, up 11 places. The free to play battle royale has been consistently popular in China, despite not having a license to operate officially.
Other games that performed well during the Lunar New Year period include Minecraft and Arknights. Interestingly, Dying Light 2: Stay Human was a new game that charted this year. The game released during the Lunar New Year period on Steam, and despite not having a license to officially launch in China, was popular among Chinese users that access the international version of Steam. NetEase’s Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, which was the only non-Tencent game to reach #1 on the iOS game revenue chart last year, continues to perform well in our streaming tracker. The Battle of Golden Spatula, which launched last year and is a localised version of Riot Games Teamfight Tactics, charted at #19. The in-depth localisation has made it more appealing than the global version.