Revolution Unveiled: Video Games in China

This year, China's video game sales increased 14%, reaching a total of 303 billion yuan (US$42.7 billion).

Revolution Unveiled: Video Games in China


In recent years, China’s video gaming market has emerged as a powerhouse, seeking the attention of gamers and industry experts. China’s video game market returns to double-digit growth in 2023 but overseas expansion is slow.


This year, China’s video game sales increased 14%, reaching a total of 303 billion yuan (US$42.7 billion).


However, in 2022, the gaming industry showed a decline of about 10.3% as compared to the previous year. This happened because of economic difficulties, strict rules from regulators, and a slower increase in the number of gamers, possibly due to COVID lockdowns.


According to reports published by Niko Partners, there will be 734.6 million gamers in China by 2027, growing at a 5-year CAGR of 1.0%.


Mobile games are played almost equally by males in China(51%) and females(49%). Most gamers are under 35 years of age and players under 25 make up 36.7% of the audience.


The most popular game genres in China are RPGs (29%) and strategy games (22%), but Chinese tastes can vary based on age and gender. The most popular is fantasy, and after that is the Three Kingdoms period.


Let’s examine this changing environment and explore the key factors contributing to its rapid growth:


Mobile game revolution:


The emergence of mobile gaming has brought about a change in the video game landscape in China. Due to the widespread use of smartphones, gaming is now more accessible to a wider range of people. Mobile gaming has grown in popularity, engaging every player from different fields and creating a cultural phenomenon.


Government Regulations:


Understanding the regulatory environment is essential to navigating the video game market in China. The Chinese government has put in place several regulations to control the gaming sector, such as age limitations, content approval processes, and caps on how much time minors can spend playing. Developers and publishers who wish to enter or grow in the industry must stay current with these restrictions.


The Rise of Online Gaming Communities:


Online gaming communities have become vibrant hubs for social interaction. Chinese gamers interact with one another and create communities centered around particular games. Developers now have a chance to interact directly with their audience, get feedback, and gain followers.

Cultural Localization: 


To do well in the China video game market, it’s not enough to just translate the game. You need to understand and adapt to Chinese culture. Games that connect with Chinese ways of thinking and what people like have a better chance of being loved by players. Few things such as local traditions and storytelling styles can make a game even more attractive.

Technology innovations: 


Innovation is a great feature of China’s technology. This also applies to the gaming sector. Engaging gameplay is being offered to players through technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These technological developments are essential for developers who want to maintain their competitiveness.


Monetization Strategies:


The Chinese video game market is essential for developers due to monetization strategies. Most games can be purchased at one time but, freemium models and in-game purchases have gained prominence. Many successful games in China have adopted a hybrid approach,  which offers players various ways to enhance their gaming experience.


What is the future of the video game market in China?


The video game industry has made an incredible amount of money in the last ten years, and the growth in China has been exceptional. Chinese players are expected to spend more than $40 billion on games by 2027.


Movie and television-based games brought in $1.29 billion in 2016, accounting for roughly 11% of all mobile game revenue. Video game firms are frequently asked to create games based on cinematic universes that they own. Both the movies and the games tend to receive a lot of attention and downloads. These alliances are advantageous to developers as well. For example, after the Warcraft movie came out, the online audience for World of Warcraft increased dramatically, thanks to the movie’s huge success.


These figures demonstrate how the global video game market is still expanding quickly and China is a major contributor to this expansion. China currently has the biggest and most profitable video game market globally. We all need to understand and adapt to its unique qualities sooner or later.


To succeed in the video game market, developers should understand the above factors. This understanding helps them navigate challenges and unlock the vast potential of the Chinese gaming scene. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting journey into the heart of gaming in China!



Niko Partners delivers the most in-depth, insightful data and analysis of the video game and esports markets in China, Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East. Online searches are simply not enough. The best companies in the video gaming business trust Niko Partners. Our local, native-speaking analysts on the ground in all of these regions leverage many unique sources of real-time data to deliver the answers these companies need to make the best business decisions.


Check out our full suite of recent reports here.

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