Chinese mobile game operators like Guangzhou Gude Network Technology had reason to cheer in 2012, as it and many other industry players enjoyed rapid growth.
Gude Chairman Xu Yuan called the year a turning point for companies in the industry. Gude's role playing game, World Online, had monthly revenue of 18 million yuan and average revenue per user of 300 yuan.
Additionally, a number of mobile game companies, who only a few years ago seldom saw monthly revenue of 1 million yuan, last year broke the 10 million mark, Xu said.
Xue Yongfeng, an analyst at industry information provider Analysys International, said the future for the industry was bright. "The mobile game market has figured out a clear business model, and the industry chain is quite complete. Business is ready to boom."
Xue expected more companies and investors to enter the field in 2013, meaning "China's mobile game industry may see a revolutionary change."
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Song Wei, secretary general of Global Mobile Game Confederation, a Sichuan-based industry association whose members include Angry Bird developer Rovio Entertainment, Fruit Ninja maker Halfbrick Studios and Gude, predicted that some popular mobile games will have monthly revenue of more than 100 million yuan.
The Android Approach
Mobile games on the Android operation system have posted strong profits, said Zhu Shunyan, CEO of UCWeb Inc., a mobile internet software provider. "The growth is astonishing," Zhu said.
UCWeb said 10 Android-based games have had average monthly revenue of more than 1 million yuan in 2012, compared to four in late 2011.
Three games operating on the Android system pocketed more than 10 million yuan every month in 2012.
Gude's World Online was the first to reach 10 million yuan in monthly revenue. The game, launched in September 2011, had revenue of 2 million yuan in its first month, Xu said.
Compared to PC games, the versions for mobile devices require far fewer resources. The team that developed World Online had only 27 people. By the end of 2012, Gude employed only 88 people.
Xu attributed his company's success to a strategy that focused on developing a more complicated game for the Android system.
"(We) believed the Android system had promising growth potential, while PC games have cultivated a large number of users who like to play complicated games," said Xu.
World Online's success was repeated by Wangxian, another Android-based mobile game. On its first day of operation in June, Wangxian had income of more than 100,000 yuan. In September, Wangxian's revenue reached 10 million yuan.
Many of the companies who entered the mobile game industry have earned their first fortune, attracting an increasing number of market players and investors to the booming market.
Xu said more and more PC game developers and other newcomers have joined the fray.
Zhu Yanshun, a senior executive of Beijing Ourpalm Co., said traditional PC game developers, like Shanda Games Ltd. and Perfect World Co., plan to develop games for mobile devices.
Shenzhen-listed Ourpalm was one of the earliest Java mobile game developers in the country. It had revenue of 183 million yuan in 2011 and net profit of 55.7 million yuan.