Thursday, April 27, 2006

Online Gaming Expected To Grow Dramatically In China

The number of line gamers in China is expected to increase almost 250 percent by 2010, a research firm said Wednesday.

Gaming ranks are projected to number 61 million in 2010, compared with 25.5 million last year, In-Stat said. Government policy that's generally favorable to the industry is expected to make growth possible. Current market barriers, however, include a new policy requiring that playing time be restricted to four hours for each game and for each player.

In addition, profits are elusive for man firms today, the analyst firm said. Fewer than 15 percent of online-gaming companies were profitable in China last year.

Nevertheless, the rate of increase of online gamers is expected to surpass that of the general online population, In-Stat said. Last year, there were more than 300 online gaming companies in China, with half of the games homegrown.

Key first-tier players include ShanDa, NetEase, The9 and KingSoft, which collectively account for 80 percent of the market.

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