China is a fun place to be a gamer. If you aren’t buying 360 games on the street for 10RMB, you’re downloading them from P2P and sharing them with your buddies at work. We had to put a stop to that latter practice at the Spicy Horse offices – we found some of our guys were transferring 100s of Gb per day. Yikes. Regardless of how Chinese gamers get their hands on games, one thing is clear: Gaming is HUGE here.
As if the point needed further making, the following article posted on gamedaily.com today:
Niko Partners today revealed the results from a report on the Chinese video gaming industry. The 2008 Annual Review & Forecast Report on China’s Video Game Industry says that China’s 46 million gamers spent $1.7 billion on online games in 2007, an increase of 71 percent compared to 2006. Looking to the future, online revenue is expected to be $2.5 billion in 2008 and $6 billion in 2012, increasing by roughly a third every year.
“China’s spending on games is up thanks to their booming economy,” said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners. “14 million hardcore Chinese gamers play online games more than 22 hours per week. They play online, LAN, and single-player offline PC games in China’s 185,000 Internet cafes and increasingly on their PCs at home, thanks to falling prices and higher disposable income.”
That’s a lot of hours spent playing games. The (un-)funny thing is how these stats only track (basically MMO) online play. Console and PC gaming are huge, but so far no one’s paying for it. The culture doesn’t support it – neither does the market. Even if you wanted to buy a legit game – you’d have a tough time finding one.
The situation is far from hopeless. World of Warcraft and online-only Chinese games are amazing examples of the market potential. Just don’t put something in a box and expect it to avoid being pirated. This is a country where you can buy fake everything. Soy sauce made from hair, bamboo shoots made from chopsticks, and fake boiled eggs made from… I don’t want to know what.
To honor Chinese gamers and their warrior-pirate ways, here’s some Chinese warriors from an upcoming episode of Grimm:
Ni hao! If I told you what episode of Grimm then I’d get a sock stuffed in my mouth. Just enjoy the image and don’t ask questions! Wo bu yao wen ti!