Tencent report: Mobile game players grow to 267 million, play 32 minutes per day

Tencent-backed research organization Penguin Intelligence and Tencent Yingyongbao, an app store for Android, jointly published a landmark report on Monday about the mobile game market in China.

The report provides insights into Chinese mobile gamers: what they’re like, what their needs are, and how game developers may unearth the potential of the booming mobile game market.

A portrait of Chinese mobile gamers

According to 2015 research by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), 45% of all Chinese mobile phone users play online mobile games – that’s 267 million players, as of June of 2015.

Additionally, from the survey of Tencent Yingyongbao, 49% of smartphone users have mobile games installed on their phones, and would spend 32 minutes per day on average playing them.

64.7% of the mobile gamers are male, and of those who have never played any mobile games, 55.5% are female, indicating that making more mobile games to the taste of more women could may bring more users to the market.

In terms of geography, 77.9% of the gamers are from first-, second- or third-tier cities.

Gamers’ favorites and dislikes

Role-playing games (RPG) ranks as mobile game players’ favorite, closely followed by action-adventure games. Puzzle games and shooting games, which are loved by commuters, rank the third and the fourth respectively. Casual games have more female gamers, sports games have more male gamers.

Data from Penguin Intelligence
Picture edited from Penguin Intelligence

84.2% of the surveyed are fans of networked mobile games, which involve competing with other players and sharing game results.

When it comes to which factors attracted mobile gamers to a new game, 69.9% said they play a game because it is their favorite type of game and has a good theme. On the other hand, games recommended by others, and the highly rated ones, are the games most likely to appeal to players under 20.

But players’ enthusiasm for a game is transient: 5.7% of them run out of their enthusiasm within a day, and only 33% can maintain their interest for longer than half a year.

Picture edited from Tencent Yingyongbao and Penguin Intelligence
Picture edited from Tencent Yingyongbao and Penguin Intelligence

Why do they uninstall a game? The top three reasons are: the game tells a boring story (55.1%), it is too time-consuming (40.9%), and it costs too much (38.7%).

The hardcore players

While casual players play mobile games just to fill a void in small moments of unoccupied time, hardcore players are willing to spend more on games – in terms of both time and money.

Hardcore mobile gamers, accounting to 15.2% of the mobile gamer base, spend over three hours daily on average playing games, and they tend to care less about how or how much a game charges. For example, games that charge for both the game itself and equipment in the game are twice more acceptable for hardcore players, 53.2% of whom are okay with a unit price higher than RMB 50 (USD 7.5), compared with the average percentage of 31% of all mobile gamers.

For hardcore players, their top priority is the sense of achievement. 62.5% of them satisfy themselves by beating the enemy, and 61.8% by obtaining equipment. Other sources of this sense of achievement are completing levels and character upgrades.

Good news for game developers

According to CNNIC, 27.6% of Chinese mobile gamers were paying mobile game players in 2014, and the percentage grew to 46.6% in 2015. The first half of 2016 saw 68.4% of the mobile gamers being paid players, Penguin Intelligence reported.

27.6% of the paid players spent more than RMB 100 monthly on mobile games in 2015, compared with 13.7% in 2014.

Over 60% of the players are willing to pay for an RPG. For hardcore players, 70.5% of them would like to pay for an RPG, and 39.3% for “management games” – games revolving around simulating managing a business or organization.

But RPGs only account for less than 10% of currently available online mobile games. Aside from this, only 4% of the mobile games are online board games, which is played by 16% of mobile gamers.

For game developers, the key words for their next games could be “more roles” and “fast upgrading”, which were ranked as the top two features of a game for which mobile gamers would like to pay.

Additionally, the report showed that mobile game players look forward to games with from popular games franchises, and games with novel ways of playing. Good games imported from abroad are welcomed… Pokémon GO might seem to fit this picture well.

(Top photo from Pixabay.com)

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