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Chinese mobile games are making crazy money in the PC market

Game Grape 2024/05/30 22:08
The next nugget?


Who would have thought that the Chinese game market has gone from stand-alone and terminal games to web games and mobile games for more than 20 years, and the next trend-setting platform is not VR, AR and other more imaginative new scenarios, but has returned to the most familiar terminal games - no way, the mobile market is really not moving.

At present, most of the top mobile games will choose to cross the PC side, and even some high-spec products will use the PC as the main battlefield. Those high-profile industry masterpieces are almost all based on PC as the core experience platform: "Codename: Infinity", "Sixteen Voices of Yanyun", "Jeopardy Zero", "Ark of Tomorrow: The End", ...... It can be seen that the industry now attaches great importance to the PC platform.

But on the other hand, playing mobile games on PC isn't that simple. After all, not every team can have enough resources to make a PC version and apply for a client version separately. Behind this is a lot of manpower, material resources and time costs. Therefore, most teams will choose to settle for the next best thing and go to various simulator platforms, but there are still a few who do targeted adaptation.

Tencent has apparently spotted these opportunities in the PC market and has laid a heavy presence on this "new" battlefield. Not only on the product side, but also on the PC-level key projects prepared by several major studio groups - the dazzling "Operation Delta" and native PC games such as "Valorant" and "Ark of Destiny".

It also moves frequently on the platform side. Not only WeGame has started to gain momentum, Tencent App Treasure also recently held a press conference, announcing that it has reached a cooperation with the Microsoft App Store, so that mobile applications can be listed in the Microsoft App Store area, and Windows computer users can seamlessly download, install and use.

Game Grape, a Chinese mobile game, is making money in the PC market

If the growth potential of the PC platform was just a trend prediction before, then this year, Tencent, Microsoft, and Intel have basically verified that the PC platform will become the next nugget of games.



In the past two years, the gaming industry report seems to be positive for the PC market.

The first is global. According to the "2023 Global Game Market Report" released by research company Newzoo, after the overall decline from 2020 to 2022, global PC game revenue recovered the fastest, with an increase of 8.4%; After the mobile game market peaked and entered the stock state, the revenue fell by 2.1% - this is also the first time in recent years that the mobile game market size has fallen below 50%.

In 2022, when the global game industry is very difficult, Newzoo reported that the mobile game market fell by almost 10%, and the console game market also fell by several percentage points, but the PC market rose instead. It can be seen that the PC market is stable.

Game Grape, a Chinese mobile game, is making money in the PC market

The second is the market at all levels. According to a 2022 report by the Kadokawa ASCII Research Institute, total PC sales in Japan in 2021 doubled compared to 2018, and the number of PC gamers in Japan grew from 11 million in 2015 to 16 million in 2021, with 4.5 million of them playing games exclusively on PCs.

According to statistics from foreign media VGI, during the 2023Q3 period, the number of new game releases and game revenue on the Steam platform broke the historical record, reaching 154 million units and $2.43 billion, a year-on-year increase of 26% and 51%, respectively.

Finally, domestic. According to the "2023 China Game Industry Report" released by the Game Working Committee, the PC market has maintained growth for three consecutive years, with a year-on-year increase of 8%, a new high. And Vito, director of product and distribution of WeGame platform, also told Grape Jun a while ago that the active users of the platform have risen for 3 consecutive years, and the MAU in the summer has reached 61 million, a new high in the past 4 years.

Game Grape, a Chinese mobile game, is making money in the PC market

On the other hand, the demographic dividend and traffic dividend of the mobile Internet have basically peaked. Lin Songtao, vice president of Tencent, said that the growth rate of smartphone shipments is declining year by year, the user replacement cycle is lengthening every year, the replacement rate is getting lower and lower, and the number of new apps on the shelves has dropped by half compared with five years ago. Many people are complaining that the cost of customer acquisition is getting higher and higher, and the purchase volume is becoming more and more unaffordable.

Game Grape, a Chinese mobile game, is making money in the PC market

Lin Songtao, vice president of Tencent

In fact, friends who have read Grape Jun's previous reports should notice that Tencent's concern for the PC market began very early.

Yao Yuan, head of Tencent's J3 studio, once said that the "Delta Action" team had previously focused on mobile games, but in recent years, everyone has gradually discovered that domestic players still have a strong demand for PCs and consoles; After the end of the epidemic, users in emerging markets such as Turkey and Latin America returned to offline, and the performance of social heavy mobile games was not as expected. In the T1 overseas market, if the product does not have a PC and a host, it is still difficult to gain a foothold.

Ma Xiaoyi, senior vice president of Tencent Group, also made it clear that PC will be one of the three major platforms that Tencent will strive for. He said that PC is a relatively more defensive market and has more active users — accounting for 20% of global gaming users, but providing about 40% of activity.

Game Grape, a Chinese mobile game, is making money in the PC market

The dividends of the mobile market have disappeared, and the potential of the PC market has begun to appear, so cross-terminal has become the choice of many people now: not only can it carry higher-quality game content, but also play the global market, and the sharing is also more advantageous - in recent years, the PC side of many cross-terminal mobile games has surpassed the mobile side.

At the same time, the PC platform can support the characteristics of multiple mobile games to play at the same time, which also gives users greater game digestion ability. This amounts to a disguised increase in the size of the overall PC user.

Lin Songtao also said that the retention and payment performance of PC game users is significantly better than that of mobile, with the next-day retention rate being 1.9 times that of mobile and monthly payment being 2.5 times that of mobile. According to their data, nearly half of the users of mobile games play games on PC, and the proportion of young users is far greater than everyone thinks.

At the same time, he believes that the needs of PC users are not fully met, and the number of installed applications is far less than that of mobile - 26 software installed per PC and 68 mobile per user. For mobile gaming, there is still a huge opportunity for the PC platform.



Contrary to the trend, there aren't many cross-device applications today.

Lin Songtao said that more than 66% of content applications have not launched a PC version to achieve cross-end. If you consider how long it takes for more products to go online, the actual proportion should be larger than that. It is not difficult to see that if you put aside the head or the first and second-tier large factories, more small and medium-sized teams are actually stopped by cost and technical thresholds.

The App Treasure team wants to be this "water seller". Therefore, the team jointly launched the PC version of AppTreasure with Intel last year, making a new cross-terminal engine for mobile applications. Based on the two underlying technologies of Intel ®Bridge (IBT) and Celadon, it breaks the barrier between x86 and ARM architecture, not only supports the application split-screen function, but also can call hardware resources such as PC camera, microphone and position positioning, and supports multi-task and multi-window operation, allowing users to switch between different applications.

In addition, this was the only product that supported the Android 13 system at that time, as well as music mini window playback, Freeform adaptive window, application split screen display and other functions.

Game Grape, a Chinese mobile game, is making money in the PC market

After completing the technical upgrade, this year the team cooperated with the Microsoft App Store to make the mobile content of App Treasure available in the Microsoft App Store built into each Windows computer, so that Windows users can seamlessly download and install mobile applications, making installing APK on Windows computers as smooth as EXE. In this way, we can create a mobile cross-end distribution platform to solve the channel problem.

Is the PC version of the app useful? Zhang Qinchen, deputy general manager of Tencent's PCG business product department, revealed: After providing ultra-high-definition image quality, ultra-wide-angle visual distance, keyboard and mouse penetration, god keys, intelligent lineup recommendation and other functions, the next-day retention rate of an online competitive game on the PC side of the application treasure is 1.2 times that of the mobile market, and the ARPU is 3 times that of the mobile market.

Game Grape, a Chinese mobile game, is making money in the PC market

Zhang Qinchen, deputy general manager of Tencent's PCG business product department

After supporting Android, iOS login and payment, online PC mall services, and opening up the iOS system, the user payment of a certain MMORPG game on the computer side of the app treasure accounts for 40% of the overall market turnover, and the ARPU is 6 times that of the game market, while another MMORPG new game debuts, and the turnover in the computer version of the app treasure can reach 10% of the market.

Zhang Qinchen said that at present, the new scale of some games on the shelves of the computer version of App Treasure has increased by 100% compared with the distribution of a single mobile terminal, and the payment of some game PC scenarios accounts for more than 40% of the overall market turnover, and the next day retention of new games is 1.9 times that of the market.

And not only in-app purchases, but also advertising monetization, the PC version of the app treasure has also been adapted. Zhang Qinchen believes that from the level of pure customer acquisition growth, the unit price advantage of PC customer acquisition is very prominent, because at present, a large number of PC advertising scenarios, sales are not sufficient at all, many of them are purchased by the package segment throughout the year, and the level of bidding is very low.

He said that according to the data obtained by the team at this stage, the activation cost of the PC side is probably more than 60% lower than that of the mobile side, and the level of new user retention brought by it is almost the same as that of the mobile terminal. "This shows that now PC is a real blue ocean of traffic."

In order to win this blue ocean of traffic,App Treasure PC version supports the jump of traffic outside the end scene,Including search ads,Bidding display ads can directly pull up App Treasure's mobile applications and cross-terminal engines,Initiate download and installation。 With the support of CAICT, the team has also established safe and compliant ecological standards and OA logos, which can better convert target groups and effectively monitor the effect of advertising.



Compared with other game companies, the re-emergence of the PC market will bring Tencent more imagination.

After all, Tencent will not stop at the development of a single game product, and the platform, channel, and advertising service departments have the opportunity to find new growth points in this area. On the one hand, it allows those platforms with huge PC traffic to have more monetization opportunities, and on the other hand, it pulls out those platforms that cannot move in the mobile market and looks for opportunities in another place.

For example, AppTreasure has reached strategic cooperation with many internal teams to further release the potential of the PC side.

For example, the team is working with Huya to build the ability to watch live broadcasts and play games on the PC side, so that players and anchors have a stronger sense of interaction, and give full play to the advantages of the large screen on the PC side; Even with the help of live content scenes, cooperative games were simultaneously put on the shelves of Channels and Huya's game live broadcast room, which made the distribution flow increase huge year-on-year.

Game Grape, a Chinese mobile game, is making money in the PC market

Another example is to cooperate with QQ Browser to launch a mobile phone split-screen mode, which can adsorb mobile applications on the side of the browser window, and even link web content to recommend the corresponding mobile application content; Including the soon-to-be-launched Xiaobao companion assistant created in cooperation with the hybrid yuan model, it can also be used to search for game application content and enhance function-related services.

At present, the mobile cross-terminal engine of AppTreasure is fully developed to ecological partners, and several major search engines support calling. And has reached a strategic cooperation with many head PC software, and will launch more related PC version guidance in the future, including hardware scenarios, such as offline Internet cafes.

This ability to integrate multiple scenarios and multiple channels is what Tencent is good at, and it is also the advantage of Tencent AppTreasure. Application treasure obviously found a gap in the mobile cross-end market, so it came to do the so-called PC mobile integration ecology.

Interestingly, the PC market has actually been quite deserted for so many years, and there are not many teams and products entering the game. But I didn't expect that with the changes in the external environment, this market suddenly became lively again, and even after Tencent, Microsoft, and Intel went down one after another, it became more and more "new gold mine".

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