China opened its market to game consoles several days ago by releasing the restriction on sales of consoles to those made within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Now consoles may be manufactured and sold throughout the country, which eliminates a distribution and logistics hurdle that existed before, but really does not change the fact that gamers nationwide were allowed to purchase consoles for the past year anyway. As Niko Partners wrote in our June 30, 2015 syndicated Chinese TV-Based Gaming Report, available for sale on our website, we forecast merely 550,000 units of consoles will be legally sold in China in 2015. There is much hype about the expanded production to other parts of China, but the fact is that demand is not there for consoles. If the Ministry of Culture approves scores of AAA games, then demand might possibly come. It is a challenge for developers and a risk, but perhaps one that could pay off if your title is the one that breaks open this market segment, at least for a niche segment of high-spending hardcore console gamers.
Meanwhile the policy change is in fact a victory for the trade world, because it means that China has opened up this market that was banned for 14 years, and now it is opened fully rather than just to manufacturing within the FTZ. Niko was quoted in the WSJ article on July 28th and we posted an article in Gamasutra last week as well. Many other journalists have linked back to these articles and past articles in which Niko Partners has been quoted or our data has been referenced.
Taiwanese company’s data, now there are more than 16 million people (>12 years old) in Taiwan who own a smartphone or a tablet, up 1.7 million in the past 6 months. This represents 70% penetration in Taiwan’s current total population of 23 million. The number of 4G users increased by 15% YoY in 1H 2015, while the number of 3G users decreased by 8%. There are 4.54 million 4G users now and an additional 3.18 million are forecast in the next 6 months.
We watched the trailer to this Chinese box office hit movie by the creator of Shrek, called Monster Hunt. It is like a PC online game in a movie format, fantasy and a bit wild. You should check it out, considering it was released in July and is already the most successful Chinese film of all time.
E-sports are gettin’ more real, even producing professionals with performance enhancing drug addictions. Sadly (yet wisely), the Electronic Sports League has opted to introduce randomized drug testing for its competitors.
Uber is pushing its way into countries throughout Asia with price cuts (I paid RMB 20 ($3) to get across Beijing a few weeks ago) and promotional campaigns. On July 27th the company delivered a high-end Xiaomi smartphone to customers in Singapore and Malaysia. Customers ordered the phone directly from the Uber app and it was delivered the same day, with the charge for the phone processed through the credit card on file with Uber. And, it was the day before the official launch of the device, Xiaomi’s QuadHD Mi Note.
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