A golden age for gaming on the go

Updated: 2013-05-06 01:55

By Gao Yuan (China Daily)

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A golden age for gaming on the go

Four people playing online games on their way to office by subway in Beijing. Playing game apps with mobile devices is now a popular way for many white-collar workers to pass time during commutes. Games command 32 percent of customers' total time in using mobile devices, says a recent study conducted by market research firm Flurry Analytics. Provided to China Daily

From a global perspective, iOS still remains the clear revenue leader across most countries. In South Korea, home of Samsung Electronics Co, the market veers heavily toward Google Play, whereas in Japan the spend is more or less even across both platforms, said App Annie, an international mobile app ranking company.

China was the fourth largest revenue contributor for iOS as of February, climbing from No 8 a year ago, according to Junde Yu, vice-president of App Annie Asia-Pacific.

"Monthly downloads on iOS in China increased 36 percent from February 2012 to February 2013 while monthly revenue surged 221 percent during the same period," said Yu.

Currently most of the top growing apps on the iOS platform are games, said Liu from RedAtoms. He suggested that developers should come out with games that are free to play but need payment for unlocking the premium services as the best business model. About 80 percent of the top games offer in-app purchases in China, said a recent RedAtoms study.

"As of today, high-end players are stuck on iOS. In the long run, Android will become the most significant mobile platform because it is open and it is already making inroads into the iOS market," said David Liu.

China has established a number of trustworthy online payment services, enabling players to purchase more paid content from app stores.

Some developers may find it's easy to get earnings in the mobile sector because of an increasing number of Chinese players who are willing to pay for gaming apps.

"The profit efficiency for mobile games is much higher than developing traditional PC games," said Hang Guoqiang, manager of an Internet industrial park funded by China Mobile Ltd, the nation's biggest telecommunications carrier.

"Chinese players are more willing to buy mobile games than to purchase PC games. Profit efficiency in PC games was around 1 to 2 percent, while the rate was 7 to 30 percent in mobile gaming sector," said Hang, adding that more than a quarter of the players are paying 5 to 10 yuan a month for mobile games.

Young players were more likely to download paid games because they have better intellectual property awareness and are comfortable in making online payments, industry researchers said.

An Analysys International report showed that about 70 percent of the players were below the age of 35.