According to a report by Niko Partners, which examines the condition and development prospects of the Asian gaming market, there are already a little over 312 million PC players in China, and this number is expected to rise to 354 million by 2023. This is more than the population of the entire United States and three quarters of the population of the European Union. This year, the PC industry in China will have revenues of more than $15 billion. Most of this sum comes from multiplayer online games (mainly free-to-play), which are the driving force behind the growth. More than 40 percent of Chinese players pay regularly for various types of microtransactions. The Middle Kingdom is currently the largest PC gaming market in the world and accounts for half of the global revenues of the industry.
The popularity of PCs as a gaming platform is largely determined by the ubiquitous Internet cafes. More than 138 thousand (!) establishments of this type can be found in every corner of the country, from the largest metropolises to the most remote provinces. Their availability and business model also contribute to the popularisation of e-sport competitions. Sports-focused games (such as the League of Legends) are another fast-growing flywheel in the industry. Last year the titles of this type brought the producers 6.3 billion dollars. According to forecasts, in 2023 they will account for more than 53 percent of total Chinese PC market revenues.
The biggest publishers in China are still Tencent and NetEase. Interestingly, more than 60 percent of the industry's revenue comes from games produced by developers from outside the Middle Kingdom. Despite the huge restrictions and Internet blockages introduced by the government, the Chinese still have access to the Steam website, where they make up a quarter of all its users. This allows them to purchase productions that would not be licensed for sale in their home country. After last year's reform, which freezed sales of any new games for many months, it is extremely difficult for foreign developers to launch with their titles in China. Such events may slow down the growth of the PC sector, too.
- Summary of the Niko Partners report