Top three games for Chinese online gaming

By the end of 2014 there were around 245million online gamers in China. Chinese gamers spent $8.7 billion on PC-based online games in 2013 (source: VentureBeat), and this figure is expected to rise to $23.4 billion by 2018 (source: Research and Market). Online gaming in China is clearly a very enticing marketplace.

A look at the top three games played online will give you an idea of just how successful this format can be, and also show you what is most popular within the marketplace. The success of these games demonstrates the power and viability of Chinese online gaming. Can you see your game in the marketplace?

Chinese online gaming: Crossfire (Tencent, SmileGate)

The top online game in China last year accounted for almost an eighth of the total online gaming revenue, bringing in $967 million from its micro-transactions system (source: Forbes). Crossfire is very popular amongst young gamers, and is very heavily based upon one of the biggest online games of its type – Counter-Strike – which sees players take on the role of soldiers battling to fulfil certain objectives.

Crossfire benefits heavily from the fact that it does not require a particularly fast internet connection to play; vitally important for online gaming in China considering the country’s relatively poor internet speeds.

Crossfire is free-to-play, and makes its money by offering paid-for upgrades within the game.

League of Legends (Tencent, Riot Games)

Tencent also publishes the second most popular game in China, in a joint venture with US developer Riot Games. Their collaboration is one of only a few partnerships happening in China that brings American games to the country (source: Riot Games). League of Legends pitches teams of users against each other in highly strategic battles.

League of Legends adopts a more traditional system of micro-transactions, in that the vast majority of its paid-for upgrades allow players to unlock content quicker. Users are not inhibited if they do not want to pay, which is likely one of the reasons why league of Legends continues to be so popular (source: IGN).

2013 revenues: US$624 million

Dungeon Fighter Online (Nexon)

DFO is based upon popular side-scrolling fighting games such as the classic Street fighter, with fast-paced action. Players progress through a series of rooms, each increasing in difficulty, filled with enemies who they must defeat in order to progress to the next room. Slaying monsters rewards them with equipment, in-game currency, new equipment, and materials with which they can craft new items, allowing them to improve and upgrade their character.

In-game tokens can be purchased with real money, which can then be spent on upgrades to improve your character. You also need tokens in order to respawn if your character is killed, otherwise you have to wait (source: IGN).

2013 revenues: US$426 million

Many of the most popular Chinese online gaming titles are free to play, but use the micro-transaction system to generate huge amounts of revenue. By offering players an enthralling experience, with the chance to earn rewards, they are attracting legions of Chinese gamers with large pools of disposable income.

Is your game ready for the Chinese online goldmine?

(Image source: “Games Smartphone Displays Internet Gaming And Entertainment” |