That figure – and Niko's other findings – point to rapid growth in China’s games market, despite state involvement stifling game releases in the country through 2018 and into this year.
Niko's in-depth report points to the fact that China presently accounts for 25% of the world’s mobile games market. As home to 18.4% of the world’s population, China is clearly punching above its significant weight when it comes to mobile. China is currently home to 1.4 billion people. Niko’s figures point to the fact that in 2018 598 million of China’s significant population played mobile games. That number is expected to rise to 728 million by 2023.
China’s domestic mobile game revenue also hit USD$15.63bn (£12bn) in 2018, rising 28.9% on the previous year. That growth came, quite remarkably, during the very year that the Chinese government’s stranglehold on new game releases and updates was perhaps at its most protracted.
Niko also published a parallel report on China’s PC online gaming market, which revealed that the country saw domestic PC online game revenue reach USD$15.21bn (£11.7bn) through 2018. That segment is expected to see revenues of USD$16bn (£12.3bn) by 2023, demonstrating somewhat slower growth than mobile in the region.
"China deserves the attention of games and hardware companies worldwide," said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners. "China’s PC online games market accounts for more than 50% of PC online games revenue worldwide, and China’s mobile games market is worth 25% of the world’s mobile games market – and rising."
The report also confirmed something that will come as little surprise to regular readers of TheGamingEconomy; Tencent and NetEase remained the top two mobile game publishers in China.
And in what may bring good news to those looking to publish titles to China’s market, invest in Chinese game companies, or similar, it was confirmed that 40% of gamers in the country choose to spend money in games. By our calculation that equates to some 239.2 million consumers ready to pay up. Equally, Niko believes ARPU and ARPPU for China’s mobile games are climbing. Once again, China’s population dividend is proving its ability to generate significant opportunities.
As a final note, Niko reports that in China, mobile esports revenues climbed to USD$5.6bn (£4.3bn) in 2018. Those revenues are forecast to almost double by 2022, with them set to hit USD$10.6bn (£8.1bn) that year. Esports doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.