The marketing intelligence firm for China's video games industry, Niko Partners has revealed that the territory's 46 million gamers spent $1.7 billion on online games in 2007, up a staggering 71 per cent from 2006.
The firm stated that advanced casual and casual online games made up 21 per cent of the total. Online revenue is now expected to reach $2.5 billion in 2006 and $6 billion in 2012, for a 29 per cent compound annual growth rate in the five-year period.
"China's spending on games is up thanks to their booming economy," said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners. "14 million hardcore Chinese gamers play online games more than 22 hours per week. They play online, LAN and single-player offline PC games in China's 185,000 internet cafés and increasingly on their PCs at home, thanks to falling prices and higher disposable income."
Gamers are also buying consoles with that disposable income, too.
"In spite of the regulation that has banned the sale of game consoles in China since the year 2000, gamers are flocking to stores that sell illegally imported Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS2 machines to take part in the excitement of console gaming," said Hanson.
"While these consoles are expensive for the average Chinese consumer, gamers are willing to spend money on them to supplement their online gaming experience, and unit sales hit 2.48 million units in 2007, up 75 per cent over 2006."
While piracy remains an issue, legitimate sales of packaged offline PC games surged 56 per cent last year over 2006.