Video game revenue in China rose 35.1 percent year-on-year to reach an estimated $9.7 billion (RMB 60.28 billion) in 2012, Techweb reports.
The figures come from the 2012 China Game Industry Report, which include estimates of actual sales, online revenue and income from games for mobile, Web and social networking services.
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The online gaming market reportedly represented over 90 percent of revenue, bringing in $9.1 billion (RMB 56.96 billion). Mobile gaming still represented a small part of the market, with just $520 million (RMB 3.24 billion) in revenue. Dedicated gaming devices, which operate in a legal grey area, accounted for just 0.1 percent of sales.
Looking ahead, the report expects the Chinese game market to swell to $21.7 billion (RMB 135.2 billion) by 2017 with a projected annual growth rate of 12.4 percent.
2012 data serves as further confirmation that the Chinese gaming market is chugging along nicely. Domestic companies like Tencent, Changyou and Duowan have already found success with their platforms, and foreign game studios are eager to enter the market. Crowdstar recently partnered with Tencent to bring its “Top Girl” game, which is targeted at reaching the young female audience, and studios like CocoaChina and Yodo1 are working with western developers to localize their games to the Chinese audience.
PC gaming and online gaming are already quite developed in China, but mobile is a new frontier. The country already has hundreds of millions of mobile users that are ready to game on their devices, but monetizing mobile gamers has proved difficult.
Numerous developers have noted that making money off Android, the dominant mobile platform in China, has not been easy, though some companies are beginning to figure out a way. CocoaChina, for instance, built up its Fishing Joy franchise to make as much as $1.6 million a month on Android.
Mobile only achieved a 5 percent revenue share of the overall gaming market last year, but times are changing and that percentage is bound to go up.
Of course, all this gaming can get out of hand too. One Chinese father was so exasperated with his adult son’s online gaming obsession that he reportedly hired virtual assassins to take out his son’s character whenever he logged online.
Image credit: Antony Dickson / AFP / Getty Images