China’s Video Games Market Sees Revenue Growth Slow in First Quarter

(Yicai Global) April 25 — China’s video games market posted slower first-quarter revenue growth compared with a year earlier, following government steps to tackle gaming addiction among the underage, including an eight-month halt on new game licensing.

Revenue rose 3.2 percent to CNY79.5 billion (USD12.2 billion) in the three months ended March 31, according to a report published yesterday by research institute Gamma Data. That was slower than the 5.2 percent increase logged a year ago.

Income from mobile games rose 2.7 percent to CNY60.4 billion, down from 6.2 percent a year ago, the report said.

Titles from Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings, the world’s biggest video games developer, are still the market leaders. Honor of Kings, known as Arena of Valor overseas, and Peacekeeper Elite, a Chinese version of PUBG Mobile, took first and second places for revenue among mobile games. They were followed by Genshin Impact from Shanghai studio miHoYo.

Only one new game was in the top 10 — Civilization and Conquest — developed by Xiamen-based 4399 Network. The game came out at the end of December and it came 10th in the revenue rankings.

Beijing-based Gamma Data did not reveal the specific revenue of the games in the rankings.

Chinese regulators unveiled strict measures last August to prevent gaming addition among minors, limiting their online play time to three hours a week, but began issuing video game licenses again earlier this month after an eight-month hiatus.

The National Press and Publication Administration issued 85 licenses for online gaming titles including Baidu’s Bang Bang Rabbit and Zqgame’s Clocker for Nintendo Switch on April 11. It had not issued any such licenses since July 22 last year.

Chinese game developers are also making slower progress in overseas markets, according to Gamma Data’s report. China-developed games earned USD4.6 billion abroad in the first quarter, up 12.1 percent from a year earlier, but down 0.5 percent from the prior quarter, mainly because there was no substantial growth from new titles.

Editors: Dou Shicong, Tom Litting

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