China to lose its crown as the world’s biggest gaming market to the US


The US is forecast to take China’s crown as the world’s biggest gaming market in 2019, driven by console titles, with the Chinese market slowing down in the wake of last year’s regulatory freeze on approval of new games, according to market research firm Newzoo.

The US is forecast to rake in revenue of US$36.9bil (RM154bil) globally this year, taking the top spot for the first time since 2015, according to a Newzoo report. China is projected to come a close second with a total of US$36.5bil (RM152bil) in game revenue for 2019.

Newzoo forecasts the global games market will be worth US$152bil (RM634bil), with 48% of all spending coming from the US and China. However, China is expected to reclaim its number one spot in 2020 as it fully recovers.

“Publishers (in China) … are now able to monetise their new games once more, but the consequences of the freeze and new approval process will still impact growth in the Chinese market this year,” said Tom Wijman, senior games market analyst at Newzoo.

China’s gaming industry was knocked by a gaming freeze last year amid a regulatory crackdown on Internet content and addiction, with Chinese authorities suspended the licensing process for new games for nine months, restarting it in December. Mobile gaming has been blamed by the government for contributing to myopia among the nation’s youth, while lawmakers have accused gaming companies of peddling products that are as addictive as opium.

China’s gaming market recorded its slowest revenue growth last year in at least a decade due to the freeze, increasing 5% to 214bil yuan (RM129bil) in revenue, according to data from Beijing-based research firm CNG.

Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings remains the world’s biggest gaming company by revenue, despite slower growth due to the licensing freeze, Newzoo said.

The company recently scored by launching Game for Peace, a patriotic replacement for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile in the China market, which brought in an estimated US$70mil (RM292mil) in player spending last month, according to data from Sensor Tower. Tencent had previously been unable to get a mobile version of the PUBG title approved that would allow it to rake in fees from game skins and other items.

Tencent’s overall videogames business, which accounts for one third of its total revenue, slipped 1% year on year to US$4.1bil (RM17bil) in the first quarter of 2019. The company reported a 3% decline in mobile games revenue to 21.2bil yuan (RM12.8bil) due to fewer new titles being released. – South China Morning Post


   

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