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Online Gaming - China - December 2017

“Consumers prefer playing online games with their real-life friends. This reveals an opportunity and also highlights the importance of connecting consumers’ real-world social life with games, which will make consumers ambassadors of games, attracting new users and retaining existing ones when they invite friends to play with them.”

- Alice Li, Research Analyst

This report will look at the following areas:

  • Female market hasn’t been fully exploited
  • How Chinese online gamers want to socialise through gameplay
  • Online games can have constructive benefits

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast of market value of online gaming, China, 2012-22
            • Figure 2: Market value of online gaming, by segment, China, 2012-17 (est)
          • Companies and brands
            • Figure 3: Leading companies in online gaming market, by value share, China, 2015 and 2016
          • The consumer
            • Mobile gaming exceeds PC gaming
              • Figure 4: Gaming devices used in the last three months, by game type, China, September 2017
            • Motivations go beyond just relaxation and boredom
              • Figure 5: Reasons to play online games in the last three months, September 2017
            • Thorough assessment of new games
              • Figure 6: Consideration factors when choosing a new online game, September 2017
            • In-game purchase rather than pay-to-play
              • Figure 7: Spending on online games in the last three months, September 2017
            • Playing with friends most appealing
              • Figure 8: Interest in social features of online games, September 2017
            • More consumers want to play with real-life friends
              • Figure 9: Gaming habits and preference (regarding playing with friends), September 2017
              • Figure 10: Gaming habits and preference (regarding playing with friends), by gaming habits and preference, September 2017
            • What we think
            • Issues and Insights

              • Female market hasn’t been fully exploited
                • The facts
                  • The implication
                    • Figure 11: Example of Splatoon, 2017
                    • Figure 12: Example of Horizon Zero Dawn, 2017
                  • How Chinese online gamers want to socialise through gameplay
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Online games can have constructive benefits
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                              • Increasing maturity in Chinese online gaming market
                                • Still room to grow market value
                                  • Mobile gaming to become the largest segment
                                  • Market Size and Forecast

                                    • Online gaming market maturing, growth expected to slow
                                      • Figure 13: Number of online gamers, China, 2012-17 (est)
                                      • Figure 14: Market value of online gaming, China, 2012-17 (est)
                                      • Figure 15: Best- and worst-case forecast of market value of online gaming, China, 2012-22
                                  • Market Factors

                                    • High-speed and more affordable internet breed more gaming occasions
                                      • Online payment users on the rise
                                        • Pan-entertainment ecosystem quickly extending impacts
                                          • E-sports coming of age in China
                                            • A highly regulated market will phase out weaker players
                                              • The future of console games hangs in the balance
                                                • Figure 16: Sony’s China Hero Project games, China, 2017
                                            • Market Segmentation

                                              • Mobile gaming to become the largest segment
                                                • Figure 17: Market value of online gaming, by segment, China, 2012-17 (est)
                                              • Console games on an uptrend but still niche
                                              • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                • Tencent and NetEase dominate
                                                  • PC to mobile game adaptations will continue
                                                    • Crossover marketing very active in online gaming market
                                                    • Market Share

                                                      • Tencent dominates with 44% market share
                                                        • Figure 18: Leading companies in online gaming market, by value share, China, 2015 and 2016
                                                      • NetEase takes a leap
                                                        • Small game makers facing tougher market environment
                                                        • Competitive Strategies

                                                          • High-quality games win in the long run
                                                            • Small companies dedicated to niche markets
                                                              • PC to mobile game adaptations perform well
                                                                • Co-publishing becomes the norm
                                                                  • Out-of-game engagement is crucial
                                                                    • Crossover marketing gets creative
                                                                      • Figure 19: CrossFire x KFC campaign, China, 2017
                                                                      • Figure 20: Example of Buick car in CrossFire, China, 2017
                                                                      • Figure 21: Minecraft x Chimelong Safari Park campaign, China, 2017
                                                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                    • Incorporating ads into gameplay
                                                                      • Figure 22: Example of in-game ad of Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, US, 2017
                                                                      • Figure 23: Example of in-game ad of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, China, 2017
                                                                    • AR technology rejuvenates old games
                                                                      • Figure 24: Example of the builder of Clash of Clans in AR, US, 2017
                                                                    • LBS can be harnessed by online games
                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                      • Both mobile and PC gaming are very popular
                                                                        • Stress relief and time killing are top two reasons for online gaming
                                                                          • Chinese gamers prefer in-game purchase to pay-to-play
                                                                            • Graphics and controls are important when choosing a new game
                                                                              • Consumers want to invite friends to play with them
                                                                                • More online gamers prefer playing with real-life friends
                                                                                • Gaming Devices

                                                                                  • The majority play on mobile phones
                                                                                      • Figure 25: Gaming devices used in the last three months, by game type, China, September 2017
                                                                                    • Females exceed males in mobile offline gaming
                                                                                      • Figure 26: Gaming devices used in the last three months, by gender, September 2017
                                                                                    • Consumers from lower tier cities play more online games
                                                                                      • Figure 27: Gaming devices used in the last three months, by city tier, September 2017
                                                                                    • Cross-device gaming is common
                                                                                      • Figure 28: Gaming devices used in the last six months,
                                                                                  • Gaming Motivations

                                                                                    • Motivations go beyond just relaxation and boredom
                                                                                      • Figure 29: Reasons to play online games in the last three games, September 2017
                                                                                    • Consumers at different ages show various attitudes
                                                                                      • 20-24-year-olds just want to kill time
                                                                                        • 25-29-year-olds have the strongest need to socialise
                                                                                          • Consumers in their 30s seek fulfilment in online gaming
                                                                                            • Figure 30: Reasons to play online games in the last three months, by age, September 2017
                                                                                          • High earners have more constructive reasons
                                                                                            • Figure 31: Reasons to play online games in the last three months, by monthly personal income, September 2017
                                                                                        • Spending on Games

                                                                                          • Gamers spend for functional benefits
                                                                                              • Figure 32: Spending on online games in the last three months, September 2017
                                                                                            • Young consumers invest more on cosmetic items
                                                                                              • Figure 33: Spending on online games in the last three months, by age, September 2017
                                                                                            • The more positive your reasons to play games are, the more you spend
                                                                                              • Figure 34: Number of game-related products/services purchased in the last three months, by reasons to play online games, September 2017
                                                                                          • Consideration Factors

                                                                                            • Many factors involved in choosing a new game
                                                                                              • Figure 35: Consideration factors when choosing a new online game, September 2017
                                                                                            • Males value the fairness of the game most
                                                                                              • Figure 36: Consideration factors when choosing a new online game (very important), by gender, September 2017
                                                                                            • Young females focus on graphics and controls
                                                                                              • Figure 37: Consideration factors when choosing a new online game (very important), by gender and age, September 2017
                                                                                            • Genre, plot, theme and music are more important to high earners
                                                                                              • Figure 38: Consideration factors when choosing a new online game (very important), by monthly personal income, September 2017
                                                                                          • Interested Social Features

                                                                                            • Consumers enjoy playing with friends
                                                                                              • Figure 39: Interest in social features of online games, September 2017
                                                                                            • Female gamers are more social network-based
                                                                                              • Figure 40: Interest in social features of online games, by gender, September 2017
                                                                                          • Gaming Habits and Preference

                                                                                            • High earners allocate enough time for online gaming
                                                                                              • Figure 41: Gaming habits and preference (regarding gaming time), by monthly personal income, September 2017
                                                                                            • Seeking challenges in gameplay
                                                                                              • Figure 42: Gaming habits and preference (regarding game difficulty), by demographics, September 2017
                                                                                              • Figure 43: Spending on online games in the last three months, by gaming habits and preference, September 2017
                                                                                            • Original stories are slightly more popular than IP adaptations
                                                                                              • Figure 44: Gaming habits and preference (regarding game plot), by demographics, September 2017
                                                                                            • Chinese online gamers gravitate toward Chinese-style games
                                                                                              • Figure 45: Gaming habits and preference (regarding game style), September 2017
                                                                                              • Figure 46: Consideration factors when choosing a new online game, by gaming habits and preference, September 2017
                                                                                            • More consumers prefer playing games with real-life friends
                                                                                              • Figure 47: Gaming habits and preference (regarding playing with friends), September 2017
                                                                                              • Figure 48: Spending on online games in the last three months, by gaming habits and preference, September 2017
                                                                                              • Figure 49: Gaming habits and preference (regarding playing with friends), by gaming habits and preference, September 2017
                                                                                          • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                                            • MinTs spend significantly more on functional props
                                                                                              • Figure 50: Gaps of spending on games between Mintropolitans and Non-Mintropolitans (as benchmark), September 2017
                                                                                            • MinTs have strong interest in building in-game communities
                                                                                              • Figure 51: Interest in social features of online games, by consumer classification, September 2017
                                                                                            • MinTs’ opinions differ by gender
                                                                                              • Figure 52: Consideration factors when choosing a new online game (very important), by gender, September 2017
                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                              • Figure 53: Market value of online gaming, China, 2012-22
                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                                              • Figure 54: Market value of online gaming, by segment, China, 2012-17
                                                                                          • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                                            • Methodology
                                                                                              • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                • Abbreviations

                                                                                                Online Gaming - China - December 2017

                                                                                                US $4,460.00 (Excl.Tax)