Chinese mobile game market will hit RMB 5.21 billion this year and 14.14 billion in 2015, according to a report by iResearch, the Beijing-based Internet market researcher. The robust numbers echoed overall market optimism over the sector as the field is thought to be very promising in the coming years. Local media provided some very interesting and informative insights into the industry for your better understanding of the market. Take a look.

So far, so good

iResearch data showed that in Q1 2011, Chinese mobile game users surged to 23 million, up by 15.05% qoq. Meanwhile the market scale hit RMB 255 million (up by 18.41% qoq). It is predicted that the scale could reach RMB 3billion in 2012.

People have been spending more and more time on smart phones, and on mobile games as well. The user experience on mobile devices is as good as or even better than that on PCs. On buses, in the station, or at dinner tables, you see people staring at the screens tapping and flipping. Yes, it’s not called addiction any more but a usual habit for most of us.

The business model of free game plus paid items seems to work very well in Chinese players. Some web game publishers have been quite familiar with domestic game lovers, so it doesn’t take much difficulty for them to relocate to the mobile land. This makes the situation of traditional console games even worse.

Among all the recent popular mobile games, WangXian is the new legend. Launched in June this year, it managed to earn a monthly revenue of tens of thousands RMB. And the number is still growing rapidly. According to a stats, there are now 792 mobile games available in the market. Surely those who just want a slice of the big cake are also included, mostly with low quality.

The not-so-long history of Chinese mobile game is very similar to that of the web games. In 2010 so many web games flooded in and messed up the market. The chaos didn’t end until some really good ones eliminated the shoddy ones.

The Present Trouble

This fresh cake is still growing and it naturally attracts more entrepreneurs as young as the market is. By there’s no dominating or leading player in the market. For those small startups, the various ways of marketing mobile games could be their opportunity of breakthrough. Before 2008 game developers must have never imagined that they could promote one game on so many platforms. Social networks as Renren, Weibo, videos sites or even chatting platforms like Weixin all work as perfect advertising channels for games, at reasonable costs. Apart from those, emerging game platforms are also useful channels to promote small mobile games.

The mobile game enjoys good user base and efficient ways of marketing, then what is the present problem it has? Possibly the user experience is the key concern of all. It is easy to have huge number of users on mobile, but it’s much easier to lose them. After all, mobile games are installed for “killing some time”. The client is small, and easy to download, so once the player feels unhappy he will delete the game within seconds. These are some factors that may hinder mobile games from delivering the best user experience.

  1. Mobile traffic fee incurred by mobile games is a big barrier for attracting long-term players. Even if the game is so alluring, calm players will stop when seeing the bills. With the popularity of Wifi and 3G network, hopefully this could be solved soon.
  2. As you may have experienced, the network speed in China is neither quick nor stable. Players hate it so much when they get disconnected or crashed in the middle of the game. Especially when the game setting is big and complex, the unsmooth loading will definitely drive away interested users.
  3. Next point is the hardware requirements of the game. If your game is only available for iPhone users, you surely have missed a large portion of lower-end users. Also if the requirements are too low, the display quality and experience is lowered as well. Developers really should take good care of the tradeoff.
  4. Another issue that gives game developers a headache is the fast updating of operating systems. A mature product needs a longer developing period, while if the system the game is built on changes too quickly previous efforts could be vanished in vain.

Boutique, The Future

 Wu Chunlei, CEO of PearlinPalm (a mobile game publisher) said that the future mobile game market would be a Boutique Market. “Finally those really great ones will remain. After the shuffling of the mobile internet industry, the engagement of overseas competitors will force the domestic market to grow and improve to a higher level. I think those high-end games can survive, not the mediocre or the shoddy ones. The future belongs to a boutique game market.”

As many insiders believe, only those games with competitive quality win the loyal users for long.

 Photo credit: Bing Image 

动点科技驻湾区记者. Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at)

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