China 3G mobile games are fast becoming the entertainment of choice among young people.
In a country where mobile phone growth has increased from 370 million to over 900 million people in only six years, is it any wonder that in 2008 33 million Chinese (an increase of 37% from the previous year) use their cell phones for mobile entertainment?
Students– 24 years and younger–comprise the majority of this burgeoning $13 billion market with 7 billion young people considered “active” gamers.
Earlier this year, the Chinese government issued 3G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, the countries three main operators, enabling wireless networks in China to offer more engaging mobile entertainment.
If the mobile phone growth rate of over 20% per year continues, as it most likely will, the Chinese will continue dominating the mobile game market.
As the Japanese learned in the dot com era, copying desktop Internet entertainment strategies doesn’t work in the mobile game market. Mobile gaming provides a unique, engrossing experience for mobile users, due to the personalized qualities of mobile handsets compared to personal computers.
Disregarding the smaller screen size of cell phones, playing games on mobile handsets is an intimate experience resembling texting. Having a mobile device accessible at all times also makes it an ideal electronic tool for interactive mobile game playing.
The development path of mobile games, based on consumer preferences and network speed, is revealing.
First, simple built-in mobile games appeared on handsets, followed by downloadable games from the mobile Internet, then online games played by an individual, followed by multi-player online games. Cross-platform games became possible as 3G wireless networks were deployed by the carriers.
China is an experiment in the making for mobile marketers and others who watch adoption of worldwide mobile technologies.