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Chinese games market is the world's biggest at $25.6bn

Expected to grow to $29bn by the end of 2017, currently represents 25% of the global market

New figures from the video games market in China shows the nation to be leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the world.

The market was valued at $25.6bn in 2016, according to a report from IHS Markit, representing a quarter of all money generated by video games around the globe.

IHS forecasts that this value will grow to $29bn this year, led by the already dominant mobile and PC games sectors. China is also the world's largest games market for both these platforms.

The nation's $13.1m PC market accounts for most of the consumer spending - 51%, in fact, of the $25.6bn total. Microtransactions generated 88% of PC revenues in 2016, with Tencent claiming 59% of this thanks to titles like League of Legends and Crossfire. NetEase is Tencent's nearest rival thanks to its partnership with Blizzard on Overwatch.

However, premium and full-game downloads are also on the rise, up from $54m in 2015 to $220m last year - positioning China as the fourth biggest market in the world for PC download games, even though this is just 2% of the money spent on PC titles in the region. Again, the majority of this growth was attributed to Overwatch.

IHS Market warns that premium PC games are likely to decline before the end of the year, due to Tencent relaunching its online games platform as WeGame.

Over in mobile, spending on free-to-play games and in-app purchases is expected to grow by 24% in 2017, having already risen by 55% last year.

Consoles are unsurprisingly the weakest force in the Chinese market, although with Sony and Microsoft finally able to release their devices in China there is the potential for some growth. Combined, PS4 and Xbox One have sold less than 500,000 units since launching, with a further $53m generated on their online services and other content.

IHS notes that the PS4 Pro helped give Sony a slight boost earlier this year. While consoles are unlikely to ever compete with PC and mobile, the intelligence firm believes "it is right for the platform companies to try and establish a more significant presence in the world's most populous country even if it takes many years to build a sustainable following."

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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