According to IDC, China’s gaming market will reach $22.01 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 15.57% through 2017. With the proliferation of smartphones in China, there is enormous opportunity to capitalize on the mobile platform, compelling companies to develop products tuned to it. Along with mobile games, companies are also developing web games that users play in a browser. The web games market is currently valued at $1 billion. Game developers are launching new games to expand their businesses and capitalize on the growing market.
Here I have chosen three game developers and analysed their future strategies to monetize on the growing opportunities in the Chinese gaming market.
The growth story
Changyou.Com Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:CYOU) is focusing on growth from its flagship game Tian Long Ba Bu, or TLBB. TLBB is a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORG) based on Chinese martial arts. The company plans to increase its revenue by increasing the average revenue per user of the game.
The company increases this revenue through expansion pack launches; it has already launched 25 expansion packs and plans to launch additional expansions every three months. These expansion packs attract loyal players who purchase items to enhance their game play. The company has a current user base of 2.04 million and an average revenue per user of $65.09 as of May 2013. An increase in average user revenue can boost the company’s revenue from $623 million in 2012 to $759 million in this year.
Changyou.Com Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:CYOU) also expects to launch the games DD Tank and Wartune on mobile platforms this year, games which already have successful web versions. According to Flurry, the number of active iOS and Android users in China is around 261.33 million. Last year, the mobile gaming market in China was worth $210 million registering a growth rate of 140% year-over-year.
Internet connectivity is poor in some parts of China, and this will increase the popularity of mobile games since users can download them and continue to play without connectivity interruptions. This has potential to boost the company’s earnings per share from $5.29 last year to $5.82 this year, and then to $6.68 in 2014.
The diversification story
In order to diversify its position in the MMO games market, Giant Interactive Group Inc (ADR) (NYSE:GA) launched the game World of Xianxia in May. The company’s MMO games portfolio mostly consists of the “ZT” series, and the new game launch will be a strong addition.
World of Xianxia’s plot mixes ancient mythology and swordsmen. The game will attract players because it gives the impression of mythical China mixed with a portrayal of natural beauty. Chinese gamers like games that have Chinese cultural touch and action. The game attracted 100,000 gamers on the first day of its commercial launch. At this momentum, the game is expected to generate $12.72 million this year and $74.86 million next year.
Giant Interactive Group Inc (ADR) (NYSE:GA) is increasingly focusing on its position in the fast-growing web games segment. As a result, the company launched the in-house web game called The Sky. In April, the company launched a pilot of this game on the Qihoo 360 web game platform. It also announced the launch of another web game, Genesis of the Empire, in the third quarter of 2013.
This expansion into web games is an effort to diversify the company’s online games portfolio. Giant Interactive Group Inc (ADR) (NYSE:GA) expects that the diversification will improve the revenue of its web game segment to $395 million by the end of the year, up from $342 million last year.
Mobile games and the repurchase story
Shanda Games Limited(ADR) (NASDAQ:GAME) is firmly established in the mobile gaming market thanks to is successful game Million Arthur, which contributed around $17.45 million (around 10%) to the company’s total revenue. It is an online mobile card game based on the story of King Arthur where gamers compete by recruiting knights and collecting resources.