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China's online games market grew 32 percent in 2011, says study

Pearl Research estimates the online games market at $9.2 billion by 2014

China's rapid expansion into the global market has been felt around the world, and while China does not open its borders to foreign consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360, social gaming and MMORPGs have made a huge impact on the culture of the online marketplace. Pearl Research now estimates that in 2011, China's gaming business jumped 32% overall to reach a value of $6.6 billion.

Pearl, who looked into MMORPGs, casual, social and web-based games, says that their latest study was able to break down the emerging trends in the market, attributing much of the success to companies like Tencent, Netease, Shanda Games, Changyou and Perfect World. Those five companies alone accounted for over $5.3 billion. Tencent was the market leader, posting over $1 billion in revenues for 2011.

Overall, the market is expected to continue with rapid expansion, Pearl suggests in their full study that the industry as a whole will grow to over $9.2 billion by the end of 2014, continued to be fueled by popular MMORPGs and social-based titles.

Chinese gamers seem to fancy smaller titles, as a shift in smaller browser games and mobile titles are making a huge impact on the landscape. Overall, more than $800 million in revenues were had from web-based titles that could be played in a browser. Of those games, over 60 percent were in the RPG genre. The most popular title, with over 800,000 concurrent users, is Tencent's Qi Xiong Zheng Ba.

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Ben Strauss

Staff Writer

Ben Strauss is a recent graduate of Xavier University. You can see him ramble on about gaming, gamification, military-related gaming and manly things on his Twitter @Sinner101GR.