China's digital gaming market has grown robustly in the past few years on the back of popular mobile games and e-sports. The uptrend is expected to continue.
According to Newzoo, a global gaming research firm, China's digital games market may have notched up sales of $22.2 billion in 2015, up 23 percent year-on-year, and surpassed the United States where sales touched $22 billion.
If the actual figures confirm the estimates, China will have become the world's largest market for mobile games.
Small wonder, the State General Administration of Sport, the national governing body of e-sports, announced in December it will hold China Mobile E-Sports Games this year.
The gaming market has never had it so good. The range now available includes Web games, mobile games, single-player games and video games.
Overall sales at 140.7 billion yuan ($21.63 billion) last year were the highest annual figure ever, up almost 23 percent year-on-year, according to a report of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association and the CNG Games Research Center.
Such stupendous revenue came from 534 million players or users of games in 2015, up 3.3 percent from 2014, the report said.
Most of them were hooked to mobile games, the key driver of sales, as more and more people started using smartphones.
Sales of mobile games alone soared 87 percent from 20 billion yuan in 2014 to 51.46 billion yuan in 2015, according to some estimates.
Analysys International, a Beijing-based consultancy, estimated sales of mobile games will reach 52.37 billion yuan this year, up 27 percent year-on-year. In 2017, sales are expected to surpass 66.83 billion yuan, up 27.6 percent year-on-year.
But Xue Yongfeng, an analyst with Analysys International, said: "The mobile games market has shown a robust growth since 2012. Mobile games netted 40 billion yuan in sales last year."
Whatever the actual figure for 2015 may turn out to be, Yao Jianjun, CEO of Feiyu Technology International Co Ltd, a leading domestic Internet game developer, knows why sales are surging.
"Games have become an essential part of young people's lifestyle. With the advent of mobile Internet and continuous improvements in hand-held devices' capabilities, everyone can access the Internet and entertainment anytime anywhere, which means a large number of people who had seldom played games in the past are enjoying mobile games now."