PC gaming is on the rise in China, with playtime and spending growing year-over-year. Here are the key findings about the behavior of local players.

Niko Partners: Most PC gamers in China prefer global version of Steam to play premium titles

  • Steam is the number one platform for PC game distribution in China, a new Gamer Behavior & Market Insights report by Niko Partners finds.
  • 79% of PC local gamers* use Valve’s store to play premium titles. Most of them access the international version without a VPN (China has its own version of Steam, but there are a limited number of approved games).

*Based on a survey of 1,079 gamers in April 2024.

  • This data is not surprising given that Simplified Chinese is the second most popular language on Steam. It is used by 28% of all accounts, behind only English (35%).
  • According to Niko Partners, 62% of Chinese PC gamers spent more money on games this year than they did in 2023. 19% said their spending was at least 30% higher.
  • 44.5% of respondents discover new games by watching short videos on platforms like Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok).

  • The Mini Game segment (small titles inside major apps like WeChat) is also on the rise in China, reaching 650 million users. Two-thirds of mobile gamers play them daily or several times a day.
  • Another interesting observation: “It appears that youth gamer regulations, while effective in curbing game time for those under 18, may be having the oppositive effect for gamers once they become adults. Gamers aged between 18-22, who were minors when youth gamer regulations were passed, play longer hours per week today than those that are 23+.”
  • Niko Partners also noted that Japan ranks 1st in game approvals among import titles, followed by the US and South Korea.

More data and insights can be found in the full report.

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