A new report from Pearl Research highlights the continued importance of Asia's more than 350,000 internet cafes in providing access to online games for millions of players.
Internet cafes remain popular in Asia because of their relatively low cost, which generally ranges from 20 cents to $1 an hour across China, India and Vietnam, Pearl's Allison Luong told Gamasutra. Internet cafes in Korea tend to charge a bit more, but are still popular for playing titles like NCSoft's Aion
, even though over 82 percent of Koreans own a computer in their home.
In China, internet cafes tend to be larger -- the market has grown to include 9,000 square foot complexes with over 200 PCs each. One of these complexes can bring in upwards of $500,000 a year, Luong said, driven largely by the popularity of social games from Tencent, including tactical FPS Crossfire
The Chinese government is encouraging this increased scale, Luong said, by requiring internet cafe chains to operate at least 30 locations across three or more provinces, and maintain operating capital of over $7.7 million.
India and Vietnam, on the other hand, tend towards smaller internet cafes, averaging less than 20 PCs per location according to Pearl. Vietnamese internet cafe players tend towards locally produced games like VNG's The Swordsmen
, Luong said, while Indian gamers tend to enjoy games found on local and international gaming portals.
"For game operators and publishers, working with internet cafes requires a multi-prong strategy including a dedicated sales team, pricing bundles and special marketing and promotions," Luong said.
The full “Internet Cafes in Asia” report
provides more details on Asian internet cafes, including market size, growth drivers and strategic conclusions.