In a recent podcast by GameRefinery, the multifaceted world of Chinese mobile gaming came into sharp focus. Hosted by Jon Jordan, representing Steel Media, the conversation featured Kalle Heikkinen, Chief Market Analyst for China at GameRefinery, and Chinese market specialist Inka Reinola. The podcast provides a comprehensive exploration of the evolution of gaming in China, with a deep dive into the intriguing social aspects of the Chinese gaming landscape.
A striking revelation from the discussion is the remarkable enthusiasm for gaming in China, despite the regulatory constraints imposed by the authorities. A staggering 52% of China’s population, equivalent to around 500 million individuals, actively participates in gaming. It’s worth noting that China had a history of stringent regulations, including a ban on gaming consoles, which provided mobile gaming a considerable advantage. However, mobile platforms have not been entirely exempt from their own set of rules and restrictions.
These regulations encompass strict censorship of sexual content and prohibitions on any content critical of the government or China itself. Notoriously, there are stringent limits on children’s gaming hours. However, it’s essential to recognize that not all regulations work against consumer interests. For instance, gacha games are legally mandated to disclose their drop rates, providing players with valuable insights into the associated risks and rewards.
The podcast offered significant insights into the evolving landscape of Chinese mobile gaming. Although mid-core games have traditionally been dominant, Heikkinen pointed out a recent 7% dip in their market share in terms of revenue. On the other hand, casual and casino games have experienced growth, with a 4% and 2% increase, respectively.
Notably, “cozy” games, characterized by relaxed gameplay and robust social elements, have gained popularity across both Western and Eastern markets. Reinola emphasized the strong appeal of social interactions within Chinese games, highlighting the example of MMORPG Justice, which offers a social wall for players to connect and observe their friends’ in-game activities.
Chinese gaming culture is marked by its unique blend of diverse genres, which might appear unconventional to Western audiences. It’s common to find a puzzle game or farming simulator integrated with a shooter mode in China, and this amalgamation resonates with the players.
China has a remarkable gaming industry that surpassed $45.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to hit $57 billion in 2027.