Game Developers Must Understand Their Eastern and Western Audiences With These Five Insights

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Kevin Ford

June 18th, 2019

When looking at the Chinese market compared to Western gamers, you quickly realize that there are many cultural and stylistic differences between the games that are played. Have you ever thought that there might be differences in the way they play their games and how as well?

After analyzing the behaviors of Chinese and Western gamers, we can see the differences between the two. The collected data allows some additional insight into how long they play games for, when they play them and how many become paying consumers.

After receiving these analyzations, we’ve been able to put together five key insights that will help worldwide game developers understand their audiences, no matter what target audience they seek to attract.

1. Chinese Gamers Purchase Fewer Games

It doesn’t matter what type of gamer you try to attract; the majority of them prefer the free downloadable games. It’s preferred that the game monetizes through advertising and IAP than charges a fee to download.

When evaluating the free-to-play games versus those that users must pay for, there’s 20% less of a chance that a Chinese player will pay when compared with the rest of the world.

There are some essential things to pay attention to. For example, conversion rates suggest that Chinese gamers tend to be influenced by other factors. They convert much more frequently during a holiday or special event. In other parts of the world, gamers tend to be more predictable.

The bottom line is that there are 700 million smartphone users located in China. This information shows that no matter who the developer targets, profits won’t be dependent on the variability as much.

2. Chinese Gamers Spend Money More Frequently

While this statement might seem like a contradiction of the last insight, it’s not. Chinese users will spend less on paid for games on average, but they make more transactions than the rest of the world.

This data proves that they prefer a game that offers regular, smaller in-app payments compared to a more significant up-front cost. Their average transactions are lower than the rest of the world, but they are willing to convert to paying players if the investment is small.

3. Chinese Gamers Play Longer, Fewer Sessions

The average plays per day around the world equals about 4.9 per day. Chinese sessions average just 3.6 per player per day, which is significantly lower. That’s more than one session each day per player.

On the flip side, Chinese users will spend almost 50% longer on each session. This means that each free to play game featuring ads for monetization will earn more on the Eastern player. The higher session time offers more opportunity for the player to interact with the included ads.

4. Chinese Players Spend More Money in Total

So, we’ve claimed that the Chinese gamer will buy less paid-for games, but will frequently spend money on in-app purchases. We also know that when it comes to how much they spend overall, the Chinese will pay more. The ARPPU (average revenue per playing user) is relatively around $8 worldwide.

In China, many gamers spend more than this average number. This suggests that by targeting this group of users, developers receive an excellent return on investment. That’s not just because they make more purchases, but by how much they spend overall.

5. Chinese Gamers Will Play New Games and Old Favorites Equally

Within 30 days, about 7% of the gamers return to the same game. As the weekend comes closer, that rate rises to about 11%. This suggests that many players will return to their favorites for the weekend, but like to play around with new games during the week.

With this information, game developers can test out some new designs and improvements on new players. Then, as the behaviors shift, the game will turn into a regular endpoint for the user.

Understanding end-users is the best way to determine what needs to be developed next. As insight grows, it becomes easier to create the next big game.

Kevin Ford


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