Net cafes falling out of favor among Chinese players
In its recently released 2013 Chinese Gamers Report, Asian games market analytics firm Niko Partners has observed a downward trend in the use of internet cafes (or "iCafe") for games.
The report reveals that internet cafes have slipped from a top position in the Chinese mainland to being ranked behind homes (64 percent) and places of employment (19 percent), holding onto a mere 17 percent of the market as a primary location for video game play.
"This latest milestone in the downward trend [of internet cafes] has implications on everything from spending habits to how gamers select games," says the report.
Furthermore, while Niko Partners does note that the way has recently been opened for legal acquisition of home game consoles in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, wide availability of this hardware on the local gray market means that this deregulation, on its own, can't account for the sharp rise in home playing in the last year.
As far as overall numbers are concerned, Niko Partners identifies the total number of PC players in mainland China as having risen to 208 million this year, while players of mobile games have reached 288 million. You can pick up the entire 56 page report here