The Chinese gaming market has certainly seen a huge increase over the past year, between the announcement of console launches for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the growth in the mobile gaming market and the potential to expand the market even further. That said, there’s still some things that can be learned from the six trends that have emerged from the market, according to Tech In Asia. We’ve broken them down in brief below, including both positives and negatives.
There was a growth in mobile gaming, but not profits
Although it slowed down a bit leading into the second half of the year, the country’s mobile market did show an increasing growth rate, and should expand even further with the introduction of new companies, products and services next year.
That said, the market still has room in terms of trying to increase its revenue. According to the report, a number of China’s most popular mobile games actually saw lower profits (92 percent), and PC games continue to make a higher revenue, despite the smaller audience. That’s not to say the market is in trouble by any means, but some developers may need to find a way to turn around their misfortunes.
Console releases have come, but didn’t make too big an impact
The Xbox One has officially launched in China, and the PlayStation 4 isn’t too far behind, ready to arrive in early next year.
While this does introduce the potential of a new audience, most gamers “don’t care about consoles,” according to the report. This is mainly due to restrictive software (based on Chinese government censors) as well as troublesome region locking, preventing the importing of more popular titles like Grand Theft Auto V. So far, only 100,000 Xbox Ones have been pre-ordered, and the numbers aren’t showing any increase that price point, despite a recent drop of $80. It appears the PC continues to dominate on this front.
eSports growth is here, but without a winning streak
eSports continue to bloom in China, as both viewership and attendance for events were on the rise. In addition, teams are starting to show dominance in certain games, such as winning the Dota 2 International championship in Seattle earlier this year.
However, there is still progress to be made when it comes to winning other games. Chinese tournament players still can’t win at its most popular game League of Legends. As a result, some teams have gone as far as trying to woo better Korean players to their squads, in an effort to try and turn things around.
Streaming picks up, but only for a select few
Game streaming definitely picked up this year, and eCommerce with it, as a number of professional players managed to rake in the cash based on their consistent game sessions. For instance, recently retired League of Legends player Misaya actually managed to make $1.5 million per year based on both his streaming and tie-in shops.
That said, it’s a service that doesn’t quite benefit everyone, but rather those who are savvy in the streaming game and know how to market themselves properly. This could possibly change with 2015, especially with Twitch teaming up with streamers to offer their own specialty shops, but for now, it appears to be restricted to a lucky few.
Virtual Reality taking off, but when is it releasing
Virtual reality made a huge impact this year with the introduction of such gear as Samsung’s VR headset, Oculus’ Rift headset and Sony’s forthcoming Project Morpheus. In addition, a company called ANTVR, among others, are looking to get into the virtual reality game in China as well.
However, there’s a catch – none of them have been released yet. With only a few prototypes available and a handful of impressive tech demos, it hasn’t caught fire like many people thought it would. This, again, could change next year with some mainstream releases, but, for now, it seems more like a “hardcore” interest than a general market.
PC Games are on the rise, but still not quite best-sellers
Finally, with the market pre-determined based upon “freemium” releases or Blizzard titles to make a profit, many titles managed to break the mold this year with their own set-ups. Guild Wars 2 is a shining example of this, using pay-up-front-based monetization, and it managed to sell half a million pre-orders before its release. In addition, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV made a dent as well, even though it’s based on a subscription service.
That said, China’s mainstream PC hits remained that way, with League of Legends, CrossFire and Dungeon Fighter continuing to dominate in the market, all based on a free-to-play system. This is mainly due to the marketing savvy of Tencent, although their content certainly attracted a huge audience as well.
Could this change in 2015 Perhaps, depending on PC content. For now, though, it’s still business as usual.