What do players need and expect from Chinese online gaming?

Chinese online gaming is a big industry that is quickly growing. As we saw in our last post, the top six gaming companies made a total revenue of $2 billion in 2013. We know a lot about the companies supplying the demand; what about the gamers? You need to understand your target market before you can begin your online game marketing. So what are Chinese gamers like?

What games are most popular with Chinese gamers?

Currently the most popular type of Chinese online game is the MMORPG. In these massively multiplayer online role playing games, a huge number of players can interact, fight, or work together in the same virtual world. They select a character and, earning experience for completing certain quests and challenges, improve their attributes and teach them new skills. These kinds of game appeal to hard-core gamers, who spend many hours a week on Chinese online games.

The online gaming industry is seeing a shift in taste, however, with the growth of MMORPGs beginning to slow, and hard-core gamers representing a smaller proportion of online gamers than before (source: Forbes). Game companies have also seen a change in the way revenue is distributed between games, with MMORPGs holding a smaller share. It seems like the next big thing for online gaming in China could be casual social games – those distributed and played on social networks such as Renren (source: Economist). These games are reaching a new gaming audience, such as women, who only represent 27% of online gamers in China (source: Go Globe).

Where and when do people play Chinese online games?

Most gamers like to play at home during the evening, between 6pm and 10 pm. Unsurprisingly the lowest gaming activity is seen between midnight and 8am, with only seven percent of gamers in total playing during these hours. After home, internet cafes are the most popular location for online gaming, with nearly a fifth of all gaming activity. A cheeky seven percent of the population play games at school or at work (source: Go Globe).

Do people spend a lot on online gaming in China?

Most online games use the highly successful free-to-play model, with players able to access and play the games without having to pay. This is popular all over the world. Revenue is generated through in-game purchases. Players can pay for extra equipment, new characters, additional levels, and all kinds of upgrades.

Chinese online gaming companies are using this free model to connect with a large market of gamers. China suffers from high levels of piracy when it comes to offline games, so free-to-play gives companies a way of presenting their game to the market and charging players who become engaged. It clearly works, as 64% of Chinese gamers spend money on their games every month, a rate that is higher than other developing countries (source: Forbes).

(Image source: “Games Play Indicates Leisure Gaming And Entertainment” | www.freedigitalphotos.net)