China could gain an additional 100 million new gamers over the next two to three years, according to the latest findings from market research firm Niko Partners.
Following the publishing of the 2010 Chinese Video Game industry Annual Review & Five-Year Forecast report the firm has released data which suggests that total game revenues in China, including offline PC, console, handheld and online games, could reach $4.61 billion 2009 - up 28 per cent on 2008.
Previously the company has forecast $4.52 billion for online game revenues alone in 2010, with the market value predicted to hit $9.2 billion by 2014.
According to Niko the market is being driven by social networking games, massively multiplayer online titles and casual games. Console titles and offline PC games make up only a small percentage of total revenues.
The report also suggests that the use of PCs to play games in the home is on the rise, with Internet cafés now primarily being used for "social entertainment and competition".
Despite harsh regulation against them the current generation of Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles are now being adopted across China and the previous generation of formats increasingly abandoned.
"Niko forecasts that by the end of this year 93 million Chinese gamers will play a mix of PC online, offline, console and handheld games, yet only the online segment generates legitimate revenue," said Niko Partners MD Lisa Cosmas Hanson.
"Many drivers will push China’s game market growth, particularly online games, to higher heights each year through our five year forecast period, and we anticipate a surge in new gamers – possibly as many as 100 million more - over the next few years," she added.