1 Apr 2010 14:33

Web game market shows growth potential - analyst

Shanghai. April 1. INTERFAX-CHINA - Online game industry insiders expect Web gaming to grow quickly due to a growing base of young players, an analyst told Interfax on April 1.

"An estimated 65 to 90 million people played Web games either in the work place, or at home every month during 2009, while over 30 million users routinely access these games from Internet cafes," said Zhao Xufeng, an analyst with domestic consulting firm iResearch.

An estimated 37.3 percent of Web game players are between the ages of 18 to 24, 30.6 percent between 25 to 30, and 10.2 percent are over 30. Roughly 45 percent earn RMB 2,000 ($293) per month or above.

"Compared with terminal games, which require software and depend on computer systems, Web games are easily operated via browsers, allowing people to play them easily from home or work," Zhao said.

Three online gaming sites have led the market since December 2009 - Kunlun.com ranked first with 17.95 million players, followed by Wanyouxi.com with 15.44 million, and Game5.com with 11.24 million.

The market has attracted a number of new entrants, including the established SNS sites Kaixin001.com and Renren.com, and anti-virus software developer Qihoo 360 Technologies Co. Ltd. have launched their own Web games over the past few months.

According to Zhao, Web games currently contribute 2 to 3 percent of online the total game market, but have recently showed exceptional growth potential. Zhao anticipates Web games to contribute 5 percent to 10 percent of the total gaming market in the next three years.

The Web game market generated total revenues of RMB 990 million ($145 million) in 2009, up 97.2 percent on an annual basis, according to iResearch figures.