The Chinese Mobile Gaming Market: 2015 in Review


22 Dec The Chinese Mobile Gaming Market: 2015 in Review

2015 has been a groundbreaking, exciting, and, occasionally, nerve-wracking year in the Chinese mobile gaming market. Between booming growth, Tencent’s company shopping spree, and market maturation, 2015 can seem like a confusing year. When Oniix launched our blog halfway through 2015, we promised to provide transparent insights on China’s mobile market. This short summary of 2015 should provide just that and put a shiny bow on the year that was 2015.

 China is #1

The top news in the Chinese mobile gaming industry was China overtaking the U.S. as the world’s largest market with $5.5 billion in revenues. China’s revenues now makes up about 1/5 of the global mobile gaming market.

Want another jaw-dropping market stat? Just in the first half of 2015, China accumulated a total of more than 366 million mobile gamers. That’s more than the populations of the United States and Canada, combined!

In 2015, China also become the iOS top dog. With installations growing 30% between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015, China gained the number 1 spot for iOS App Store downloads. This growth can be credited to an iPhone craze in China, as Apple stores opened all over the country. Read an earlier blog post to learn more about the iOS boom in China.

 China (Okay…. Tencent) buys it all

2015 saw Chinese companies buy up the mobile gaming industry. Tencent fully acquired Riot Games, took a majority stake in Miniclip, invested in KiK Interactive, and put $126 million into Glu. What about other Chinese companies? In January, Alibaba took a 10% stake in Kabam. Additionally, China’s Youzu set up a $330 million investment fund in hopes of becoming a global company and Cheetah Mobile acquired France’s MobPartner.

Another Year Older

There’s no doubt that in terms of size and user behavior, the Chinese mobile gaming market is maturing. As is the case with growing up, there are both good and bad things that come with age.

The Cons:

Competition is fiercer. As more Western developers increasingly prioritize the Chinese market and as local studios grow in skills and capacity, the competition for top spots is tougher.

Sophisticated games are expected: This gamerbase has come to expect more complicated mobile games, which often means in-country servers, live ops, and strategic local marketing. All of these services are difficult to implement from across the world, making a local partner the only way to succeed while bringing an advanced title to China.

The Pros:

Larger File sizes welcome: The average Chinese mobile user is no longer buying their first smartphone but is instead upgrading to their second or third. These devices have better specs and allow more storage. Additionally, data coverage has improved in China, which makes downloading larger apps less of a headache.

More challenging gameplay allowed: Chinese gamers are infamous for wanting easy games. However, as they become more familiar with mobile gaming, more complex mechanics are welcomed.

Higher ARPU: A maturing market means a spending market. That’s good news, plain and simple.


That’s our short wrap-up of 2015. We at Oniix can’t wait to see what amazing developments the Chinese mobile gaming market will bring us in 2016.

Happy New Year!

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