New Study: China Surpasses US in Gaming

China plays more mobile games than the US.

Many gamers know how pervasive gaming is in China and other parts of eastern Asia--from  international events like the recent World Championship League of Legends tournament, which finished in a match between the South Korean team SK Telecom T1 and the Chinese team Royal Club. What's surprising, though, as shown in GamesIndustry International's new study from Frank N. Magid Associates, is that more Chinese gamers are playing on smartphones and tablets than PC games and MMOs. The same is not true in America, so that cultural difference will be important as these two world powers continue to interact online. 

In China, people play more games in general. It surprised me that 84 percent of people game in China, while only 69 percent of Americans are virtually achieving goals. More game developers are catering to Asian audiences than US ones these days and Chinese are increasingly getting games that we never even see as gaming becomes more prolific in their culture.

Smartphones are one of the first truly affordable personal computing devices in China and have really leapfrogged the PC market there. --  Tom Godfrey, Executive Director

Most of the gamers in China are playing on tablets. 79 percent of people report pulling out Androids and other devices weekly to game on the go. When you compare that to the 68 percent of US tablet owners who report gaming, it shows a cultural difference in attitude about only play. We don't see as many people in public having fun on their smart phones and tablets, so it is not as normalized in this country. Gaming is tied to on-the-go casual interactions in China that we could replicate here, if we wanted more gamers. 

Smart phones are also a place where Americans and Chinese differ. 90 percent of Chinese polled said they couldn't live without one. Only 43 percent of Americans said that they needed a smart phone for survival. While people should be excited to play games on whatever device they have, I hope that tablets and smart phones remain a privilege in America, and not a necessity for gaming and life. 

America does some things more than China in online interaction, but overall more of them are gaming than us. Our internet has less censorship, and therefore we can go to more websites. We start playing when we're younger. We play and own more consoles than the Chinese. As more Chinese are getting online we will have to learn how our cultures differ in relation to gaming.


GameSkinny intern, college student, and lifelong nerd.

Published Oct. 11th 2013

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