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Market Insight

China: PC games continue to shut down in 2019

July 12, 2019

Chenyu Cui Chenyu Cui Senior Research Analyst – Games, IHS Markit

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A selection of games in China shut down in 2018 and 2019

Title

Publisher

Launch

Closure

Genre

Developer

QQ Music

Tencent

Jul 2006

Dec 2019

Casual

Seed

Bubble Fighter

Shanda

Nov 2011

Aug 2019

Casual

Nexon

Dragon Quest X

Shanda

Nov 2016

May 2019

MMORPG

Square Enix

Extopia

Kingsoft

Oct 2017

Mar 2019

FPS

Kingsoft

ShuShan

Perfect World

Jun 2016

Mar 2019

MMORPG

Zulong

EVE Online

Tian City

May 2003

Sep 2018

MMORPG

CCP

Orcs Must Die OL

Tencent

Jan 2018

Jul 2018

Tower

MOBA

Robot Entertainment

QQ Pet

Tencent

Jul 2003

Sep 2018

Casual

Tencent

CS OL 2

Tian City

Apr 2015

May 2018

FPS

Nexon

HEX

Perfect World

Nov 2016

Mar 2018

TCG

Cryptozoic Entertainment

 

In addition to the well-saturated PC games market facing cannibalisation from IP adapted core mobile games, Chinese publishers also struggled with a 9-month freeze on issuing publication numbers (ISBN) which stops monetisation of new games. With few new revenue streams to expand PC online game business, the publishers have to shut down legacy titles which have little user traction and cannot gain much profit, in order to save operating costs.

Some of the long-serving titles namely QQ Music, QQ Pet and Bubble Fighter closed due to their out-of-date gameplay and old-fashioned graphics which cannot satisfy recent mainstream gamers who have a better choice of more recent games. Some of the games with short-term operation namely Orcs Must Die OL and HEX are having a hard time to break into the market with issues centered on localization such as optimization, adapted gameplay different to the original title and in-game item promotion.

These closures also reflect that popular IP and well-known games cannot be guaranteed user traction in China now. Necessary adaptation and local marketing campaigns to suit Chinese gamers’ consumption behavior are a must to achieve success.

With a shift of users towards mobile games and improved smartphone specs to allow advanced games, publishers are more willing to devote resources to mobile games development rather than traditional PC games. We are aware that more Chinese publishers have stopped developing in-house PC titles but intend to license overseas games. But with a stricter censorship process, overseas titles might face further hurdles before official launch such as content adjustment and periodic updates review via authorities, which will increase R&D costs for publishers. As a result, we are likely to see more PC games with fewer users shut down to free resource diverted to flagship titles or mobile games.

 

Geography
China
Research by Market
Media & Advertising
Category
Games
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