REPORT: China $3B mobile game market is about to overtake the States

As the next generation of digital gaming is starting to mature, several important changes are taking place this year. One of those is the opening up of the Chinese gamer market. Already, Microsoft announced its entry into this previously closed market with the release of its Xbox One. No doubt this will further cultivate a thriving gamer market. But mobile games are showing tremendous growth, as Chinese gamers are on track to spend an estimated $3 billion this year on mobile games.

By comparison, the US mobile game market is showing signs of saturation. Overall spending continues to grow but does so at a lower rate than its Chinese counterpart. And so major publishers like King have set their sights on this Asian giant and recently announced a publishing deal with Tencent to release Candy Crush Saga in China.

Finally, unlike everywhere else, Apple iPhone does not dominate the Chinese market, rendering it a vastly different competitive market with Android in the lead. With such a large opportunity and explosive growth, quantifying the Chinese market is another feat, especially when comparing it to the US mobile world.

Take-away: Everyone knows the Chinese game market is massive, and the mobile segment has seen particularly explosive growth. But quantifying the Chinese market is another feat, especially when comparing it to the US mobile world. We teamed up with Talking Data to offer a new report on both the US and China mobile games markets.

Major findings from the report include:

  • The Chinese mobile games market reaches $3B in 2014E and is shortly expected to overtake the U.S. ($3.2B).
  • China’s average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) and conversion rate both grow more than 20% since last year as ARPPU in the U.S. hits $21. An increase in spending confidence as well as new mid-core and core mobile games help boost both markets’ Q1 2014 spending.
  • Compared to the same time last year, January marketing costs more than double in China and U.S. CPI (cost per install) grows 36% in response to market saturation. In the following months of Q1, spending in China has risen to meet high CPI costs while the average revenue per American user comes up short.
  • Developers in both markets will need to focus on researching effective monetization mechanics and their most lucrative audiences in order to conquer an increasingly competitive and ubiquitously free-to-play market.

Learn more about our research.