A report by Chinese market analyst Niko Partners believes that the country's gamers are shifting from hardcore MMOs towards a more casual experience, driven buy the "monotony of themes" and a need to engage with a wider variety of users.
Niko Partners, which specialises in analysis of the Chinese videogames market, believes that the casual sector will account for 30 per cent of all online gaming revenues in China by 2014, making it worth $3 billion (£1.89bn) a year.
Currently, Niko values the Chinese market at $3.8 billion (£2.4bn) a year, with casual gamers making up 23 per cent of that market. By 2014, Niko Partners expects there to be 141 million online gamers in China.
"We believe that the Chinese market has taken up SNS (social networking site) gaming in earnest, and that the hard-core gamers have shifted their preferences to include these games alongside the casual gamers who naturally appreciate them, " Niko Partners' Lisa Cosmas Hanson told GamesIndustry.biz.
"The hardcore gamers are growing weary of the monotony of themes in the Chinese MMORPGs, and they want to extend their social interactions to games that attract a more diverse user base. People want to play games that enable them to have something to bond over when chatting with schoolmates or colleagues at the water cooler. "