During Casual Connect San Francisco, NewZoo announced a new report, titled “US & China Battle for #1”, discussing the differences between the Chinese mobile market and American mobile market. The eight page report came with a lot of interesting information about what is happening today and in the future. TestBird has been working with many of the developers in China as their #1 source for functional and compatibility testing and we’d like to help share more insight about the information given in the story. Here are the top five items found in the article that we think everyone should know:
- China is becoming #1 in 2015: According to the research, China will overtake the USA in sales this year making over $22.1 billion USD compared to America’s $22.0 billion and reach $32.8 Billion by 2018. A few factors for this can be attributed to the growth of mobile revenue in China is the population of mobile game players is over double the players in America (roughly 446 million vs. 185 milliion) and more paying players in China (roughly 156 million vs 109 million). Though players in China have less pocket money than their American counterparts, ease in purchasing micro-transactions, a more tolerant culture for pay-to-win gaming, and a culture of excessive mobile phone use has helped China to gain ground against USA.
- USA grows by consoles, China by mobile: With 45% of the gaming market in USA coming from console gaming, only 16% of the total revenue comes from mobile. This is in complete contrast with China as over 68% of gaming comes from PC gaming and 19% from mobile. The reasons behind this is simple as the Chinese game industry has been held back on console gaming with a 15 year sales ban being lifted this year allowing for growth in MMORPGs and other genres on the PC. Chinese mobile gaming is seen to continue to grow as almost 900 million smart phones being purchased in the past quarter as many players transition from PC to mobile gaming or add mobile gaming to their leisure time.
- Chinese women play more and spend more on games: Though Americans have more big spenders in mobile gaming compared to their Chinese counterparts, Chinese women are bigger spenders on mobile gaming than American women (35% in China vs. 25% in USA). From personal research and asking friends in the Chinese game industry, I believe this trend could be due to the increase interest in causal games in China that are more catered towards women gamers. Another friend commented that it might be due to the lack of other entertainment in China’s smaller village areas making Chinese women play mobile games more. Another friend commented on more women friendly advertising for mobile games on the internet, websites, and in-game ads.
- Western games aren’t penetrating China: Of the top 20 games for iOS and Android, only three are from the west. Western game companies will need to spend more time in localization and better development to help counter this trend. Being in the top 20 is very big in China as 74.2% of total revenue come from this group compared to 61.3% in the USA. The great news for TestBird is that all five of the top Chinese publishers and one Western publisher shared in the report are our clients.
- Revenue from Android games is more fragmented in China: While 25% of the revenue comes from social casino games in the USA, China’s revenue is a lot more fragmented. This could be from the legality issues of casino games in China as well as the popularity of some genres already in place in the market. The top three genres (Casual, Cards, and RPG) all settle at around 20% each for the total Chinese genre market share. Both card games and MMORPG games have been large successes in China prior to mobile gaming and the trend doesn’t seem to be ending. The good news is that this fragmentation in the Chinese mobile market gives some western companies a better opportunity to test out their games with little fear of not capturing some audience and losing retention rates. Testing the audience is something TestBird offers with it’s crowdsource testing features that are only available for the Chinese market.