Piracy has long been a big issue in China gaming market. For quite some time, China has been the total flip-side of the US when it comes to innovation. People in China view that individual rights don’t matter (1). On top of that, the system of intellectual property rights protection in China is not mature. Both copycats and gamers benefit from the piracy. BSA (The Software Alliance) pointed out in one of its reports that 77 percent of the personal computers in China had pirated software installed in 2011 (2); in the same year, ZDC (ZOL Data Center, 2011) released the data indicating that only 11.3 percent of the single-player gamers in China chose non-pirated games (3). The piracy issue in China actually stopped many companies from getting into the attractive China market. So, how did Steam, a popular game distribution platform developed by Valve, get into the great China market? The answer is low price.
In November 2015, Steam added Chinese RMB as an official currency to its platform and supported payment method in China, thus entered China gaming market officially (4). With affordable price and convenient payment method, the platform quickly expanded its subscribers. On the other hand, the consumer behavior of gamers in China has been changed with the new generation becoming the major consumers. Compared to the last generation, younger gamers tend to pursue quality of the game and are aware of intellectual property rights rather than simply enjoying the free rides (5). Up to date, Steam successfully attracts approximately 6.1 million subscribers in China. Despite the fact that some of the users might own multiple accounts, it won’t affect the gross number of users too much. According to SteamSpy, each Steam subscriber in China owns approximately eight games on average, which is relatively lower than the other countries. The number of Stream users in China is actually surpass UK which has 5.7 million Steam users, being the Top 5 following US, Russia, Germany, and Brazil. Yet we should still consider the larger population scale in China (6).
Compared to 6.1 million Steam subscribers in China, US has 24.9 million active users which makes US number one, Russia 15.5 million, Germany 7.6 million, and Brazil 6.4 million. Nevertheless, the growth of non-pirated game consumers in China indicates a healthier China gaming market, which we would love to witness in the near future.
Top 6 (updated on 1/6/2016):
Source: SteamSpy (updated on 1/6/2016)
Seasun is a leading Chinese online games publisher focused on creating high quality games/game engines that push the boundaries of player experience in action entertainment. The company is also involved in small-medium sized investments for game studios worldwide. We have recently started up our U.S. studio in Redwood City, CA to create top quality content for the western market.
Seasun has shipped many successful titles, including the popular MMORPG series JX (http://jx3.xoyo.com/), the MMOARPG titles First Myth (http://fs.xoyo.com/index1) and CQ (http://cq.xoyo.com/), along with our FPS MAT (http://xd.xoyo.com/). The “JX” series has grossed more than $250 million and has achieved a daily active user count of 3.3 million. Our first game for the western market is Relics of Gods (http://rog.seasungames.com/). We are currently building a special team of highly talented people to create the technology for our next-generation MMOARPG at this studio.
Kingsoft, Seasun’s parent company, is publicly traded in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK: 3888) with market value of 3.8 billion USD. Kingsoft has created 3 other subsidiaries alongside Seasun: Cheetah Mobile (NYSE: CMCM), WPS Office, and Kingsoft Cloud Service. Kingsoft has over 4,000 employees worldwide.