Play Social – Social Gaming China, is the premier Social Gaming and Affiliate Conference in China. With the Chinese gaming market being unique in several respects: its size, its culture, its barriers to entry, and the huge role that government plays, Platform Infinity is proud to create the first platform for industry professionals, affiliates and government officials to gather and discuss the future of gaming in China, as well as opportunity of investment and growth internationally.
Between 2000 and 2015, all foreign game consoles were banned for official sale, forcing gamers into a deep PC game culture. This culture revolved heavily around netcafés where paying for access was part of the way of life. When the consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo) were finally approved, they proved to be prohibitively expensive and gained little traction.
The rise of the smartphone, however, finally provided an inexpensive and common platform and China’s pent up gaming desire exploded. The government however, maintains tight controls over what is allowed in the market. Spending too much time gaming is seen as a “social ill” with real repercussions. This approval ban also affects foreign games and associated capital flows.
China requires foreign games to have local partners. Beyond this, all games must receive official approval, and numerous games are banned or publishers are required to alter the games.
In 2019, online social games are expected to become $17.40 billion markets and nearly $5billion will come from online social casinos. The immense popularity of social games is attributable to people’s likelihood for both playing and socializing through a digital medium. Game development companies are making hefty investments to bank on the rise of new gaming trend – mobile games.
Although most social games are free to download and register, game developers get higher ROI via in-app purchases that players make to reach advanced stages, buy power-ups or virtual gifts for fellow players.
Chinese players also tend to switch games quickly. A game will become fashionable; urbanites will buy their way to powerful characters to gain face; and then they will quickly move onto the next fashionable game fad. Many big gaming companies desperately want access to the Chinese market, but how do they go about it?