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Mobile Monday: China Cleans Up Games, App Downloads Up 10%

Posted Apr 29, 2019

With a population of approximately 1.4 billion, China undoubtedly represents a huge market for mobile gaming. While developers might be thinking about financial opportunities, they also need to understand the unique and specific characteristics of the Chinese gaming market. We have an update on recently announced restrictions and requirements and how this could affect the industry as a whole. We’ll also look at worldwide app downloads in Q1 and the major role mobile gaming is playing in those results. Read all about it in this week’s Mobile Monday!

Are China’s Restrictions on Games Worth It for Developers?
After a government re-organization, the Chinese government ended a nine-month freeze on approving new video games and announced new regulations on the type of games that are allowed. Gambling games including poker and mahjong, games that deal with the country’s imperial history, and games featuring corpses and blood are now banned.

There are also regulations that require publishers to submit in-depth information for approval including detailed scripts and screenshots. Furthermore, games must include features to help curb gameplay addiction. In 2007, China addressed the longstanding issue by placing regulations on PC games and have now been officially expanded to mobile gaming as well.

Will these restrictions and requirements hinder expansion in the Chinese mobile gaming market? Not likely. Developers could view the Chinese market as an opportunity rather than a burden when looking at their estimated $30 billion in annual video game sales. Time and resources will be needed to clean up games or create alternate versions but ultimately, it could still be worth it.

Mobile Games Contribute to App Downloads Growth
Analytics firm, App Annie recently released their numbers for Q1 2019. Their data revealed that worldwide app downloads had totaled 30 billion which was an increase of 10% year over year. Google Play had a hand in this growth as their downloads grew 10% year over year as well. The biggest contributors to this trend were India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Egypt. The key drivers of download growth on the App Store were mostly more mature markets including the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Germany. Despite the massive app download numbers, the App Store’s saw a softening of downloads largely due to China’s aforementioned game licensing freezes.

Mobile games continue to be one of the largest contributors to download growth on both Google Play and iOS. The rising numbers will continue with the recently announced Google’s Stadia Cloud gaming service and the Apple Arcade subscription service. After those launches, App Annie predicts that mobile gaming is set to hit 60% market share of consumer spending in 2019 among all gaming including computer, handheld, and home consoles.

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Mobile Monday examines the latest news, trends, and developments in mobile apps, tech, and advertising. Do you have a story to share for the next Mobile Monday?

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