COVID-19 led to an increase in time and spending by nearly all gamers in China
SILICON VALLEY, Calif. – May 6, 2020 – Niko Partners, a market research and consulting firm covering the video game industry in Asia, today announced the release of two new reports: China Mobile Games Report and China PC Games Report, both with market size and 5-year forecasts through 2024.
Key takeaways from the reports include:
- PC and mobile games revenue in China was in $33.1 billion in 2019, projected to pass $46.7 billion by 2024
- China had 685 million gamers in 2019, expected to rise to 772 million in 2024. 637 million are mobile gamers, and most PC gamers also play mobile games.
- Mobile games generated $18.5 billion in 2019, up 18.2% from the previous year, and forecast to reach $32.0 billion by 2024. This excludes revenue from mobile game exports, which was $6.4 billion, up 21% yoy. Niko has revised upward the forecast for mobile games revenue for 2020-2024 from last year’s forecast. The reason is that there is stronger demand for mobile games, better mobile infrastructure, and broader selection of games.
- Female gamers are rising, making up 42% of total gamers in 2018, 46% in 2019 and forecast to be 50% in 2020, primarily on the mobile platform.
- PC gaming fell 4% to $14.6 billion in 2019, and further decline is expected especially due to the impact of COVID-19 on internet cafes. The PC forecast has been revised downward as a result of COVID-19 and the difficult regulatory policies that have delayed or prevented some hit global titles from being licensed in China. Niko had previously forecast nearly flat growth, mostly because of the pull to mobile gaming, but instead the market fell 4.9% in 2019 and will fall again in 2020 because of the regulations, few new titles and COVID-19 closing icafes. However, China remains the world’s largest market for PC gaming.
- Chinese gamers continue to be motivated by esports, and revenue of games played in esports reached $13.9 billion, rising to $23.2 billion in 2024. Total esports games revenue for 2019 was $13.9 billion, 42% of all revenue, projected to grow to $23.2 billion in 2024. Esports is a major driver of both PC and mobile games. Offline tournaments will reduce some of the impact on the games revenue post-COVID, but mobile esports have an opportunity for more widespread, mainstream open tournaments, and this should be a boost to mobile games revenue.
- 95% of the people we surveyed in our China COVID-19 impact survey said that they are playing more as a result of the quarantine. People are playing much more in China during quarantine, but the bump should recede once they resume regular life. Some classic games resumed during the quarantine will continue to be popular, but icafes will not resume to the same capacity as before, and mobile gaming will continue to surge.
“This turbulent time of the COVID-19 pandemic afforded us the opportunity to observe and analyze human behavior in relation to gaming through the lens of China. These reports analyze market data results, the trends that inform the annual forecast through 2024, and the change in Niko’s previous market model and forecast that is a result of COVID-19, regulations, and other market factors,” said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, president of Niko Partners. “I am thankful that during the pandemic people of the world can get some joy out of playing video games, safely from home during shelter in place rules, and China’s market has shown this to be true.”
Niko’s research methodology includes online surveys of Chinese gamers,, trends analysis on key topics such as esports, leading games and game company market share estimates, review of regulations and policy plus interviews of game publishers,analysis of drivers and inhibitors for growth, review of distribution, hardware, payments, internet cafes, and moree. Each market report provides a comprehensive market model and 5-year forecast of games and gamers, and qualitative and quantitative analysis on gamer demand, behavior and usage for mobile and PC games.
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ABOUT NIKO PARTNERS
Niko Partners is the leading market research firm covering the Asia games market. Founded in 2002, the firm conducts syndicated and custom research studies on China and Southeast Asia + Chinese Taipei, Japan, South Korea, and India including online games, mobile games, consoles, regulatory issues, piracy, development, online operators, distribution, and retail. Niko Partners also offers consulting services including focus groups, partnership selection, IPO and market opportunity analysis, custom surveys in cities throughout China and the Asia Pacific region, and customized data analysis. The goal of the research and strategic advisory services is to help understand the market, strategically enter or expand market share, and continue to profitably grow in Asia’s impressive games markets. The company is based in Silicon Valley with offices in Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta and London, and its clients include worldwide leaders in game software, hardware, and services, as well as hedge funds, media companies, trade associations, and management consulting firms, all of whom have a vested interest in a thorough understanding of the region. www.nikopartners.com