Massive new influx of Chinese gamers predicted in next few years

A Chinese mobile gaming growth explosion is expected in the next few years, according to media giant Tencent, with core genres like RPGs, shooters and strategy likely to benefit.

Addressing an audience of developers at GDC today, Tencent Games' executive in charge of production Steve Gray urged Western developers to find ways to launch their games in China.

"In 2014 many Chinese phone manufacturers will release very cheap models," he said. "They will sell 300 or 400 million handsets. That's a lot of new users. A very high percentage of them will play games."

He added that sales trends across Tencent's roster of mobile games showed a clear trend of new mobile users experimenting with simple games, before graduating to more complex adventures.

"Particularly in the Chinese market, but it's indicative of the whole world, people come in to play really simple games, where you scratch your finger on the phone and something happens," he said. "But what we find is that people then start to play more complicated games.

"Simple games do monetize but the more deeper games that people play for longer periods have more options for monetization. It's also possible to spend more time and money building those games to attract people coming to mobile from more complicated areas like PC gaming."

Tencent is a major entertainment and online hub in Asia, serving millions of users with entertainment and social media services. It is also a significant or majority shareholder in Western games companies like Activision Blizzard, Riot Games and Epic.

Speaking at the Tencent-hosted GDC session, Gateway to the Chinese Market, Gray argued that "action, RPGs and strategy games are the future," and urged developers to focus on "making great games first and then worrying about monetization later."

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