Most popular Chinese female-oriented online games released new content to celebrate Valentine’s Day and attract new players. 

Why it matters: So-called otome (“maiden” in Japanese) games target female players and are predominantly designed as role-playing games (RPG) or simulation games. Gaining in popularity in China since 2017, these online games cater to female players’ emotional needs by offering various romantic fantasies. Valentine’s Day has become the most popular annual event for these game makers.

Details: Eight out of the top 10 otome games listed on TapTap, a game review platform and player community, released special content for Valentine’s Day.

  • For example, I Should Be a Rich Lady (Wo Ben Qian Jin, in Chinese), the most downloaded otome game in Apple’s Chinese app store, unveiled a Valentine’s Day contest on Feb. 10. Players are asked to vote for their favorite romantic characters. The game maker, Tomato Games, will produce customized stickers for the winning character based on the votes, according to the announcement (in Chinese). The game’s app ranks fourth overall in Apple’s RPG category.
  • Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice, produced by Papergames, also released an update, adding more holiday plots and scenes. One of the most popular female-oriented games, this game provides a simulated romance experience. Players have the chance to win cash and other game content rewards  (in Chinese) during the time-limited update.

Context: Valentine’s Day has become the most popular and profitable holiday for Chinese otome game makers. It is followed by May 20, a date which sounds like “I love you” in Chinese. Third-ranked is the Qixi Festival, China’s traditional Valentine’s Day. It falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. All three are lucrative holidays. 

  • As in the world’s other top 10 games markets, the majority of Chinese otome participants play on mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets, according to Newzoo.
  • Otome games will constitute a $151 million market by 2023, according to Chinese consultancy Intelligence Research Group (in Chinese).

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a] or Twitter @zhounanyu.