With new reports of unprecedented growth, HTML5 games have secured their place as the hottest way to enter the Chinese gaming market. In the first half of 2020, WeChat Mini Games – one of the biggest HTML5 platforms – experienced a surge in revenue of 18 percent.
At a conference in August, WeChat product manager Li Qing shared insights on user growth, attributes, and popular genres in the Mini Games ecosystem. We have summarized key points below to help developers redefine their strategy for the ever-growing and changing Chinese gaming industry.
H5 User Footprint: 1 Billion and Counting
Since China’s biggest social media platform introduced Mini Games in 2017, the total number of registered users has exceeded one billion. This number has grown continuously over the past six months, indicating that mobile users – experienced gamers or not – are embracing the new WeChat mini-game model as a way to have fun on their phones.
With the steady release of new HTML5 games, alongside the optimization of existing ones, WeChat predicts an even faster growth rate for its Mini-Games business in the second half of 2020.
H5 User Attributes: The Pool Just Got a Lot Bigger
Data from WeChat highlights important differences between HTML5 game and app store game players, a key insight being that only a small percentage overlap.
For developers, this means complementary app and H5 strategies can help games reach a far greater audience than ever possible in the past.
Given their click-and-play nature, Mini Games appeal strongly to intermittent users who want to explore a game before committing to it. Once they’ve had a taste, they can go straight from your HTML5 game to an app store and download the full version.
Where the male-to-female ratio for traditional mobile games is about 6:4 (see gender distribution for mobile gamers in China), WeChat Mini Games have proven more attractive to the female user base with a ratio of 5:5.
With mobile gaming market revenue for 2020 forecasted to hit 6 billion USD for China alone, Asia’s growing female gamer segment is becoming an increasingly important target audience.
HTML5 games give developers access to a wider age range of players. Data from the past six months shows that two out of three mini-game players are over the age of 30—in contrast to one out of two for traditional mobile games.
HTML5 games give wider access to the China mobile user population as a whole compared to apps. The market share of mini-game users in tier 3-5 cities now exceeds 58 percent, compared to 39 percent for Chinese mobile gaming apps (see distribution of Chinese gamers by city tier).
The HTML5 games market is attracting users who weren’t gamers before and expanding China’s player pool. It can be concluded that these users prefer Mini Games to game apps, which require a stable internet connection, more phone storage, and higher performance.
H5 Genres: Puzzle and Simulation among the Most Popular
Puzzle and simulation games are the most popular HTML5 game genres, attracting 600 and 500 million users respectively, and bringing in combined revenue of more than 2.2 billion RMB.
The strategy and RPG category account for over 300 million users and 2 billion RMB in revenue.
Also announced at the conference was the expansion of WeChat Mini Games’ physical cache to 200 megabytes, giving developers more room to experiment and allowing users to experience games of higher quality and greater variety.
Now is the Time to Leverage China’s HTML5 Games
For foreign game developers, the HTML5 games market paves a uniquely hassle-free path into the Chinese market—with immense commercial value and scalability.
If you already have games in China, getting them on the H5 platform is key to sustaining and enhancing your success: on top of bringing in their own revenue, HTML5 games can attract new users and drive downloads for your mobile games.
If you are outside China and you want to harness the power and potential of HTML5 games in your platform/superapp to drive engagement contact us
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