2015 has been a banner year for mobile games. Revenue is at an all-time high and there’s a slew of games that’s made the platform more popular than ever. This year is the first time that the revenues of mobile games will surpass those of traditional consoles and it’s looking as though this trend will continue into 2016. And that’ll happen thanks to a huge boost expected to come from the overseas market.
Google Play store in China in 2016, the possibilities are endless for what it could mean for the future of the mobile market. The service originally withdrew from China in 2010, leaving a complicated and fractured market that has wreaked havoc for both developers and publishers. The Android market in China has been woefully fragmented with gaming companies being forced to go through one of China’s many different app stores or find a new distributor entirely in order to sell their games.
By having a centralized platform through which consumers would be able to purchase mobile games, the country could then greatly streamline things and in turn grow its user base to become the largest market in Asia. According to one source, the Chinese mobile market currently lags behind Japan by a billion dollars, though things could be very different by this time next year.
Shen Si, the CEO of Chinese mobile advertising company PapayaMobile, said that Google Play is an ideal starting point for the corporation’s renewed expansion. “If they want to break the ice with the Chinese market then they have to pick a pretty important product to make available to the Chinese people and make it really localized,” Si said in an interview. “Google Play would be a really good product for that because it’s not very sensitive.”
One of the areas in which Google Play is expected to have the biggest effect in China is mobile gaming. The country spends more on mobile games than the United States and is also the second biggest market for Apple Inc. The market has managed to achieve this in spite of the barriers to entry for many mobile gaming companies and this will only increase with the reintroduction of Google Play.
Some of the most popular gaming apps to have taken over the Asian market have been social casino apps. Lisa Cosmas Hanson, founder and managing editor of market-intelligence firm Niko Partners, said in this article that there are many areas of untapped potential to be explored and more than a fair share of money to be made for those that can corner the market.
“We believe that games become popular because they fill a void for gamers,” said Hanson. “It is important to evaluate what voids there are in Chinese culture, and then match game development to those as well as to the gamer behavior and characteristics of a good mobile game in a popular genre.”
Gambling isn’t available in China, but gamers still want to be able to create their own casino experiences, even if they’re just playing for fun. Social casinos have quickly become a popular pastime for mobile gamers with their fresh takes on classic casino titles that are both fun and accessible. This gaming platform offers the ability to play against actual, human dealers in addition to licensed takes on social casino titles. In terms of the latter, there are slot and card-based games featuring popular movies and TV shows including The Incredible Hulk and Gladiator along with an updated version of beloved board game Monopoly.
With simpler access through a centralized store like Google Play, we expect the Chinese mobile market to explode in 2016 and social gaming apps will be among those leading the charge.