China has an estimated 180 million gamers, and most of them spend money on online games every month, according to a new study from analyst group Niko Partners.
In its 2012 Chinese Gamers Report, Niko found that 64 percent of the 500 gamers it polled said they spend money on games each month -- many of which are free-to-play titles. The group notes that this percentage is far higher than what it's seen in other developing countries.
Last May, Niko said the Chinese online games industry was experiencing "explosive growth," and forecasted that 2011's total revenues for the market would grow to $5.8 billion from $4.8 billion in the previous year.
In its latest report, Niko says the ratio of hardcore gamers (those who play more than 22 hours every week) is falling, as the share of gamers playing fewer hours per week is rising. It also notes that the ratio of gamers aged over 40 is growing every year, too, now making up 10 percent of its survey sample.
"In examining the rapidly evolving Chinese games market, we see that casual, social, and mobile games have all captured the hearts of hardcore and occasional gamers alike," explains Niko Partners managing partner Lisa Cosmas Hanson.
She adds, "Online games revenues are now more distributed among various platforms and genres than they have been in past years, when MMORPGs compiled the vast majority of domestic revenue."