Popular mobile games point to potential of female gaming market in China

World Today

In the past month, China has witnessed an explosion in popularity of mobile games dedicated to female gamers. One in particular has been earning around $40,000 a day through user-based purchases.

CGTN’S Yang Chengxi reports.

Two games are getting wildly popular in China and they are drastically different from previous best-sellers.

One of them comes from Japan, where you feed a frog who travels a lot. The other, called ‘Evol Lover’, is a Chinese game where you play a show producer who has romantic encounters with not one, but four incredibly handsome guys.

Many gamers are giving positive reviews. “The plot, visual style are much better than other existing games,” said one.

Others notice which of their friends are drawn to the games. “For my friends who are really fascinated, they are mostly single and don’t want to spend effort in keeping a relationship,” another gamer said.

“I have to take care of my children and also do the jobs. It’s very busy,” conceded a gamer mother. “But these kind of games only take me 10 to 15 minutes every day to play.”

So obviously, they tick many boxes for female gamers. But there’s the twist: the gameplay is based on using virtual cards, and if you ever grow fond of one of the characters and want to collect all his cards, you need to pay up.

Gamer Yang Xin spent 10,000 yuan within just three weeks of playing this game. According to analysts, this strategically designed mode of gameplay and its social media effects are what make the game a money-making machine for the company – Nikki Games – that developed it.

“According to our monitoring, the card game genre is one of the most lucrative types of games,” explained Dong Zhen, a senior analyst at the Interactive Entertainment Research Center.

The takeaway from the popularity of the game is that the industry is taking the female gamer community more seriously.

Back in the days of PC gaming, it was mostly a boys club, and you needed to assemble a high performance computer to play the best games. But now, most people have a smartphone. Half of the players of China’s most popular mobile game in China, King of Glory, are women. Nikki Games believes that the female gaming market needs to be further cultivated.

“If you click open any gaming news website, this is how they label different genres: Battle games, war games, action games, and female games,” said Vice President of Nikki Games Bruce Liu.

“For about 50 percent of our population, they only have one sub-section. That is not fair. They deserve more games dedicated to them.”

However, there are things that developers should pay attention to. According to some gamers, girls have slightly different gaming habits than boys. For one thing, many girls might not have the same kind of die-hard loyalty to one particular game as many boys do.

“Female gamers usually have their own communities,” Yang Xin, a female gamer, explained.

“These communities, they may start from one game, and they may transfer to another game. The most fascinating thing is, for female gamers, if one or two figure out if one game is fascinating, they will do their best to promote the game to other female gamers in that community, so the whole community change to another game.”

Simply put, fast-changing social media trends might affect the life cycle of new games. That means that, to stay ahead, developers will have to keep on innovating.

Zheping Huang on how China’s gaming market is targeting women

For more on the female gaming market in China, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Zheping Huang, a journalist covering China stories for the digital news outlet Quartz.