Online Games are Becoming the Undisputed Top Sellers Among China's Increasingly Large Gamer Market

By Frank Lewis,
TechWeb initially reported that based on the 2012 China Game Industry Report 2012, China's online games market has ballooned to a whopping 56.96 billion yuan ($9.14 billion) in sales. This represented 94.5% of the China's total games market sales of 60.28 billion yuan ($9.68 billion), up 35.1% from 2011.

The mobile gaming market is also growing stronger, but still currently in a far second with a 5.4% share or 3.24 billion yuan ($520 million) in sales.

The remaining 0.1% share or 75 million ($12 million)yuan comes from sales for single games and gaming hardware, a category which continues to be popular in the West but has obviously not been catching on in China. comments that this is "in part due to legal complications when releasing consoles in the Chinese market."

Online Games Market Breakdown
Which online games are racking up the revenues? A breakdown of the online games market shows that online games requiring a downloaded client took in 45.12 billion yuan ($7.25 billion), which includes MMORPG and casual online games.

Meanwhile, Web-based games hauled 8.11 billion yuan ($1.3 billion), which should include most free browser games and no download titles. Social games, which cover the likes of Facebook games, earned the remaining 3.73 billion yuan ($599 million).

So to summarize the distribution of online game sales.
Total online game sales - 56.96 billion yuan ($9.14 billion)
Client online games - 45.12 billion yuan ($7.25 billion)
Web games - 8.11 billion yuan ($1.3 billion)
Social Games - 3.73 billion yuan ($599 million)

More Growth to Come
2012 proved to be an astounding year of growth for the Chinese online games market, solidifying its reputation as one of the most lucrative countries to launch a money-making online, Web or social game.

The China Game Industry Report 2012 further predicts that by 2017, revenues from China games market will surge to 135.22 billion yuan ($21.71 billion) or more than twice its current sales. This represents a forecasted 12.4% year-on-year growth of sales over the five-year period, an impressive growth trajectory that should compel more developers to launch games in China.

Investments Pouring In
In fact, investments are already pouring into the Chinese online games market. The China Perspective reported separately last year that online gaming was responsible for 25 high-value investments, based on a report from institutional investment advisory group Zeo2IPO. 20 of these online games investments have a combined value of $137 million or $6.86 million per investment on average. This makes online games the second most attractive investment destination in China's Internet market, behind e-Commerce.

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