Chinese game companies are global powerhouses, accounting for 47% of mobile games revenue and 39% of PC games revenue worldwide, including revenue generated in the domestic China market
SILICON VALLEY, Calif. – June 8, 2023 – Niko Partners, the world’s leading market research firm covering video games and esports in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, today announced the results of its latest comprehensive research on the video games market in China, published in three new reports now available on the Niko Partners website. Insights from the research show that the domestic market for PC, mobile, and console games in China remains the largest globally and will continue to grow, reaching $57 billion in revenue in 2027. Additionally, Chinese game companies are expanding their reach globally, accounting for 47% of mobile games revenue and 39% of PC games revenue worldwide.
“Chinese game companies are growing internationally, and they are making bold investments at higher rates than ever,” said Lisa Hanson, CEO and founder of Niko Partners. “PC games revenue generated overseas by Chinese owned companies rose by 22% in 2022 and is expected to grow by a 13.8% CAGR through 2027 – which is higher than the domestic growth rate by a significant margin. You must get to know Chinese developers and publishers both in the domestic market and abroad if you are serious about the global games industry.”
Key takeaways from these reports include:
- China continues to be the largest market in the world with 31.7% of global mobile games revenue and 33.4% of global PC games revenue generated domestically
- By 2027 China will be home to 730 million gamers. The country’s population is declining but the number of gamers is rising. Domestic games market revenue split of gamer spend is 66% mobile, 31% PC, and 3% console games
- Tencent (0700.HK) and NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) commanded a combined 61% share for domestic PC and mobile games revenue in 2022. While the duopoly continues to dominate the games market, the combined market share was lower than in 2021 due to weak performance from legacy titles and a lack of new title launches – indicating other competitors are building ground. Q1 2023 earnings for both companies were positive with Tencent’s domestic game revenue rising 10.9% YoY and NetEase’s total games revenue rising 7.6% YoY
- Niko Partners projects that more than 1,000 domestic games and 100 import games will be approved in 2023, surpassing 2021 and 2022 totals. On the other hand, games without ISBNs are succeeding in China and foreign game IP can pursue a domestic licensing channel, under certain conditions
- Niko Partners tracked 102 esports tournaments that were held in China during 2022, of which 51% were held for mobile games. Honor of Kings tournaments had the highest combined prize pool in 2022 at $14.7 million, which was 1.66x higher than Peacekeeper Elite. Valorant from Riot Games, owned by Tencent, is poised to significantly impact China’s esports market upon its launch later this year, building on its huge success of League of Legends and other newer titles
- 42.8% of China’s gamers that actively watch gaming and esports content also make in-game purchases every month. This compares to 2.2% for gamers that do not watch esports or gaming content. Likewise, gamers that engage in livestreaming spend, on average, 70% more per month than those who do not.
“China’s market can be tough for domestic and foreign companies, but the country remains the #1 market globally for games revenue and the number of gamers, and cannot be ignored,” stated Lisa Hanson, CEO and founder of Niko Partners. “Game companies are successful in China, both through officially approved releases on app stores and unlicensed releases through platforms such as Steam International. If we consider games published through Steam in China as if Steam were a single entity, the revenue generated from the platform would make surpass all other publishers in the country except for Tencent and NetEase.”
For more information, check out the new reports, each with approximately 70 pages:
For these new 2023 reports, Niko Partners leveraged our unique local expertise in China to interview industry executives, examine streaming data, review company financial reports, a proprietary survey of 1,575 gamers, and our China Games Streaming Tracker. Contact us for more information on our methodology for our ongoing market intelligence services and reports.
ABOUT NIKO PARTNERS
Niko Partners is the world’s leading market research firm covering video games and esports in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Leveraging unmatched local expertise with a global perspective, Niko Partners delivers the most in-depth market intelligence on the world’s fastest-growing regions. With our deeper understanding of these markets, game developers, publishers, investors, and suppliers can make smarter business decisions with the utmost confidence. Our detailed reports, subscription insights, and custom consulting services dig into the details of nuanced, complex markets, empowering firms with a stake in the video game and esports ecosystems to make the right moves for their organizations. Coverage areas include East Asia (Japan, S. Korea, Chinese Taipei), China, Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), India, and MENA (Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt in North Africa). The company is based in Silicon Valley, with offices in Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta, and London. Learn more at www.nikopartners.com