It is expected that console games will generate over $2 billion per year by the year 2024 in China. This prediction comes from Niko Partners, who have been looking at the growth seen in home consoles in the region.
Revenues from consoles and their games reached $997 million in 2019, but a Niko Partners analyst has speculated that this will rise to $2.15 billion. Their reasoning is fairly simple, it’s now legal to sell consoles and their games in the region, so they should sell much better than they have before.
Home consoles have been banned in China for decades. This is what led to the huge increase in the region’s free-to-play mobile and PC games, which have flooded the market. Since these are the most prominent games that are legally available, it makes sense that the region’s best performing segments have been PC and mobile.
Official consoles have been legalized for sale in China since 2014. In 2015 the ban was lifted entirely to allow for all kinds of consoles, including retro copies and outright ripoffs. With the current momentum that Nintendo, Microsoft, and PlayStation are seeing around the world, it’s expected that the Chinese console market will see exponential growth in the coming years.
Niko Partners have encompassed both official consoles, and the aforementioned copies, which are often banned elsewhere in the world. In many cases these consoles were designated for sale in other regions, but after being canceled are simply sold in the region that they’re manufactured, most commonly China.
2019 saw 1.4 million grey market copy consoles sold in China, while only 460,000 official and legal units were sold in the same period. Niko Partners expect that legitimate consoles will see a sales increase to 975,000 by 2024, and the grey market console segment will fall to 1.03 million over the same number of years.
Console gamer numbers reached 11 million in China in 2019, which is expected to nearly double to 19.15 million by 2024.
The current leader in terms of sales in China is the PlayStation 4. However, Niko Partners reports that the Nintendo Switch is selling much faster than expected since it launched last year, and so could well surpass it before too long.
The launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X later this year is also anticipated to invigorate the official console market in China further, driving far more sales.