A new report from Newzoo, with data compiled by TalkingData, indicates that China has become the definitive leader in mobile gaming, with $7.1 billion in annual revenue for this past year. But that’s child’s play compared to where this year’s numbers will go.
The report, titled Mobile Advertising & User Acquisition In China, shows that China will continue to flourish with mobile games, as it is expected to top $10 billion in 2016, and eventually reach $13.9 billion by 2019. This is a great leap forward compared to 2014, when the market made a much smaller $4.5 billion.
As a result, the overall games market is slowly being dominated by mobile efforts, which will grow from 33 percent in 2015 to 48 percent by 2019.
MAUs also increased year-over-year, rising by 80.4 percent on Android and 21.7 percent on iOS between the end of 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, the number of active mobile game devices grew to over one billion in Q4 2015, a major increase from the 800 million reported for 2014.
Newzoo does point out a slight note of concern with growth rate. Even with a 25 percent increase in active mobile game devices for the year, the quarter-over-quarter rate did see a slight drop-off by 4.8 percent.
NetEase’s Tom van Dam spoke to GamesIndustry International about the drop-off, explaining, “Direct user acquisition isn’t very successful in China. You can’t buy users like you can in the West,” he said. “For example, we did a UA campaign, spending $100,000 to buy users. I can’t recall exactly, but I think we got $2,000 back. Those users don’t monetize, and they can cost up to €50 [$57.5 USD] a user.”
Still, there was plenty of selection, as the market saw 16,500 mobile games across various Chinese app stores, with 50 percent in the casual and card genres. As for new launches over the year, role-playing and strategy games ruled the roost, and are likely to overlap these categories by the end of this year.
As supported by other recent reports, things will continue to rise for the Chinese gaming market, although the new user growth may be some cause for concern. Fortunately, with so many games to choose from, and many Western developers trying to get in on the action, there should be something that draws them in.