CHINA: Online gaming sees massive growth

The online games market in china grew to $1.66 billion last year, according to market research firm Pearl Research.

China’s most popular online games include Netease’s Fantasy Westward Journey, with 1.66 million peak concurrent users, followed by Giant Interactive’s Zhengtu Online with 1.52 million.

The year 2007 exceeded expectations with the market growing more than 60 per cent, driven by compelling and diverse content, free-to-play games, and rising demand for leisure and technology products,” said Pearl Research MD Allison Luong. Chinese-themed and advanced casual games are expected to drive revenues in 2008 and beyond.”

A key trend to track in 2008 is rising average-revenue-per-user. Certain online games are reaching $7 to $12 a month in average-revenue-per-user, significantly higher than past averages of $5 or less per month. I believe there is still room for average-revenue-per-user to grow, as game operators enhance monetization efforts from free-to-play games,”

Game operators in China enjoyed strong growth last year, with Shanda up 49 per cent to 338 million, Giant up 274 per cent to $209 million, The9 up 30 per cent to $175 million and Perfect World up 593 per cent to $95 million.

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