Approximately 49% of gamers in China play on their phones, with the country’s mobile gamers accounting for more than 70% of its total games revenue, according to a new report by Makreo.
Despite a turbulent 2022, China remains the world’s biggest mobile gaming market, and it appears that the market is rebounding with more and more games being approved for release.
In total, a third of Chinese consumers play mobile games, and Makreo notes that female gamers are on the rise. China has over 300 million female gamers, with the majority preferring mobile games over any other platform. Notably Tencent’s Honor of Kings, the fourth-highest grossing mobile game of all time with over $12.5 billion in lifetime revenue, had an audience comprised of 54% female players in 2020.
Despite this, professional female players remain a rarity in the country’s esports sector.
Opportunities in China
Makreo identifies several key factors in China’s rise to the top of the mobile market.
One factor was a fourteen-year ban on consoles, which ended in 2015. During this time, gamers increasingly turned to their phones, and game developers working in the mobile space capitalised on the low entry barrier and comparatively low cost of mobile devices to accelerate growth.
These entry barriers have only grown shorter as the Chinese economy has opened up, making it easier for developers to break into the market.
Chinese consumers also have increasing levels of disposable income, giving consumers more money to spend on hobbies such as gaming.
China is also seeing a sharp uptick in terms of interest in the wider gaming industry, with Sony and Microsoft both attempting to capitalise on the recent turbulence in the mobile market to accelerate their growth in the country through licensing partnerships and incubator programs. Sony’s China Hero Project alone has invested at least a million yuan in 17 small-scale games as part of its goal to sell twice as many PS5 consoles as it did PS4.
We listed several Chinese companies, including Tencent, as some of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.