China will have 64.9 million online gamers by the end of 2009, in a market that is growing at an "incredible rate," San Jose, Calif.-based research firm Niko Partners said this week.
Each of these players will spend $52 on average, the firm said. The Chinese audience prefers free-to-play games -- which generate revenues from virtual item buys and advertising -- over subscription-based games, according to Niko Partners.
"Thereís no doubt that the market for games is growing at an incredible rate in China," said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, the firm's managing partner. "The economics of the market are shifting from supply-driven to demand-driven..." she added.
In May this year, Niko said the Chinese online games market
would reach $8.9 billion by 2013 from $2.75 billion in 2008, with MMOs contributing 77 percent of total revenues, and casual games contributing the remaining 23 percent.
Online games in the region continue to thrive on the culture of internet cafes. Niko's May study counted 170,000 internet cafes in China, with a total 23 million PCs.
Niko's highlighted numbers were released as part of the company's new research report, 'The 2009 Chinese Gamers Study'.