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China’s gaming rebound is go and on track for $47.8 billion revenue this year

Niko Partners projects a 5.2% YoY rise in gaming revenue
China’s gaming rebound is go and on track for $47.8 billion revenue this year
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Nov 22, 2023 report Niko Partners $47.8 billion
  • Niko Partners has revised its forecast for China’s PC, mobile, and console games markets in 2023
  • Niko Partners predicts that China will generate $47.8 billion from gaming this year in a 5.2% YoY rise
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Video gaming market research firm Niko Partners has revised its forecast for China’s PC, mobile, and console games markets as part of its half-year update report, predicting that China will generate $47.8 billion from gaming this year in a 5.2% YoY rise.

This is a revised figure from the June 2023 report and would mark a $2.3 billion increase over 2022. And with a return to form looking likely, it seems 2022 will prove in retrospect to be an outlier as the only year mobile games revenue fell.

Plenty to predict

Niko Partners expects the total number of gamers in China to reach 710.3 million by the end of next month (and the end of 2023 with it), with monthly ARPU projected at $5.60.

Naturally, one of the biggest factors in a more successful year for China is its comparatively lax regulations today, meaning vastly more games receiving licence approvals than last year. In fact, 2023 had already outpaced 2022 on yearly licence approvals by June, with over 500 in six months compared to 466 in 12.

As of October 30, 844 game licences have been issued in 2023 when combining domestic and imported totals, meaning last year’s total has almost been doubled with two more months to go.

Niko Partners suggests higher spending on legacy titles and a number of new successes has driven this year forward, with the record-breaking Honkai: Star Rail surely playing an important role among said successes. GameRefinery has also noted that 52% of the Chinese population now play video games, midcore being at the forefront; this can only serve to further bolster revenues.

Niko has noted that the industry’s growth will be partially offset by the weakened value of the Yuan, but predicts that China’s gaming market will surpass $56.7 billion in 2027 with a five-year CAGR of 4.5%. By that time Niko expects to see 734.6 million gamers in China, and in the interim expects to see more AI-generated content, continued game approvals and esports more, as highlighted in the full forecast.

"China’s recovering video game market is good news amid the underwhelming post-COVID economy," said Niko Partners CEO and president Lisa Hanson.

"The rebound brings more optimism to 2024 outlook. As we see more games launches and approvals, esports boom, as well as Chinese game companies’ continued expansion, China will continue to play a vital role in the global games industry."

Looking ahead, Meta is hoping to rebuild its presence in China after a 14-year ban, but it won't be with Facebook...