Niko Partners, a research and consultancy firm focusing the Chinese gaming market, today announced results from its latest report, showing impressive growth for the Chinese videogame market in 2005.
According to Niko’s fourth annual report on the market, 29 percent of China’s 27 million gamers played games more than 60 hours per month, which helped contribute to a 23.6 percent growth rate in China’s videogame market from 2004 to 2005. The Chinese market, of which 84 percent is comprised of online games, now stands at $683 million. The market is forecast to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 24 percent for the period 2005-2010, climbing to $2.1 billion.
Niko Partners projects that premium casual games will gain in popularity comparable to MMORPGs over the next several years, achieving 40 percent of all online revenue by 2010. Other key findings related to overall China videogame market growth include:
- Internet Cafés: Gamers access the online gaming universe an average of 4 hours per day through the estimated 20 million PCs in China’s 265,000 officially licensed and unlicensed Internet cafés, almost all of which have broadband access and regularly maintained PCs.
- Adoption of Broadband in Homes: One factor contributing to the rise in gamers is faster adoption of broadband in homes, which enabled more gamers to access online games.
- Increase in Casual Gaming: Casual games, including puzzle, board and advanced casual games, comprised 20 percent of the online market in 2005 and should rise to nearly 40 percent in 2010.
- Hardcore Gamers: 29 percent of all gamers were classified as hardcore in 2005, up from 20 percent in 2004. The definition is based on more than 60 hours of online game play per month.
“Chinese gamers’ passion for massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) has extended to the casual and premium casual segments,” said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners. “Premium casual games provide new gamers greater access to the online game market and open up an alternate source of entertainment for hardcore gamers.” Hanson also commented on issues with continued Chinese government edicts
designed to control certain aspects of video games, noting: “Not only is it imperative for a foreign videogame company to understand the preferences and demands of Chinese gamers, they must also strive to develop games that fit the restrictive regulations of the Chinese government."