The number of Chinese gamers surpasses the number of American citizens

Numbers from market research firm EEDAR show that the possible market for games in China is immense.

Credit: Games Marketing Summit
Credit: Games Marketing Summit

Speaking on a panel at the 2014 Games Marketing Summit in San Francisco, market research company EEDAR revealed that, according to their research, the number of gamers in China surpasses the total number of citizens in the United States.

The panel was focused on marketing trends in the gaming industry and featured representatives from Microsoft, Sony, EEDAR, and Ubisoft. The exact numbers according to a slide said, "There are 1.6 Chinese gamers for each American Citizen (517M vs. 317M)."

Of that 517 million person Chinese gaming audience:

  • 147M are core gamers
  • 28% play more than 1 hour/day
  • 9.7% have spent money
  • Core genres = 70% of revenue

Just last year, China lifted a 13-year ban on console gaming systems, however the Chinese gaming censorship rules are more than a little strict.

Of course, this doesn't mean there's going to be any immediate change in the direction game development takes, and gaming piracy still runs rampant through large parts of Asia, which makes it a difficult area to work in. But as China opens up, we'll likely start to see incremental changes both in the types of games we play and what type of audience they're targeted at.

Justin Haywald on Google+

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 372 comments about this story
372 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for Karchy

The number of cockroaches in a chinese restaurant surpasses the number of chinese citizens

Avatar image for tightwad34

Okay. Not sure how relevant this is consider China has at least 5 times the population of America. Maybe this is considered news since they barely allow consoles and games in China. If America had something like 1.5 billion people the number would be at least the same and probably more.

Avatar image for tonytones21

OMGOSH I don't care.

Avatar image for orbit991

Besides Wow they get to play games such as "the chairman is always right", "let's go to the not that kind of party" and the endearing timeless classic "let's send the baby panda to the US".

Avatar image for randomkidlol

The companies who have already tapped into the chinese market are rolling in cash. Those who cant get in can only gawk at the money theyre making and complain about government policies.

Seems like a really good system to keep competition out and maintain monopolistic practices. Just like Walmart.

Avatar image for Megavideogamer

China may have more people. But out of 8 generations of games. How many would make it past the Chinese government censors. less than 2% of all games?

So while China may seem to be a huge market it is not really. since they won't be allowed to play much of anything.

Avatar image for Vojtass


Avatar image for insloanwetrust

How many pro western shooters will they let the people play? Did they not have some problem with the China rising DLC? They will have different gaming tastes just like the Japanese do. They prefer handhelds, moblie games and JRPG's. China will have it's own likes. I'd be shocked if it was CoD, BF and GTA.

Avatar image for Carpetfluff

So many people playing but thanks to the government they can only choose from about 10 games.

Avatar image for Tigerbite2

Damn commies. Beat us at everything.

Avatar image for tightwad34

<< LINK REMOVED >> How did they beat anyone with this?

Avatar image for svaubel

How many people at a conference did it take to figure out that a country with a population of >1 billion has more people than one with >300 million...

Avatar image for meatz666

<< LINK REMOVED >> Check India. About 600 mi, but less gamers than US. And it's not a communist state.

Avatar image for yzeng

Failed education system leads to kids addicted video games leads to ignorance leads to obedience to the CCP. That's whats happening in China. the Chinese government wants to have massive hive minded labor forces.

I am not trolling or against gamers, but if you have seen those kids in Chinese cybercafe, you know something is terribly wrong with them.

Avatar image for deactivated-5ae060efb3bf6

Hast to be safer than going out and breathing in their polluted air.

Avatar image for qtmew

Now the developers will make Chinese gamers download and buy DLC for everything, gotta get the mullah!

Avatar image for Vodoo

And what classifies them as "gamers?" Because they downloaded an app on their phone once? Gimme a break! These numbers are so skewed, not to mention the Chinese would much rather steel software than pay for it. If you want real numbers, Chinese citizens that would pay retail price for anything is probably 5% of the US GAMING community (not all citizens). That is the absolute WORST market for any legit company to work in.

Avatar image for Bellum_Sacrum

<< LINK REMOVED >> Wow your speculation and deeper knowledge is so amazing, I'm shocked marketing companies aren't making lines outside your cave to hire you!

Avatar image for spartanx169x

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> He is pretty much dead on with his view. Its a fact that they the Chinese Bootleg everything they can get their hands on. They have no respect for copyrights and patents whatsoever. They will only buy what they can't steal(copy, Bootleg). When bootlegging music first popped up on he internet, sites popped up all over China to sell what they did not have licenses for. Do you think video games will be in different?

Avatar image for PETERAKO

Also china is the paradise of games that are actually used as farms to milk addicted users(who seem to be too many there) with the most absurd and outrageous money grabbing scemes you have ever seen

Avatar image for Bellum_Sacrum

...and in the end, they'll just stick to the PC since, as demonstrated, you have no real reason to actually buy games for it.

Avatar image for veryDERPY

and ALL of em, are farming gold for the western plebs to buy in a mmo of their choice...or just steal most of it

Avatar image for elsmitty

I bet the wii and the psp will sell amazing well in china.

Avatar image for WereCatf

The "9.7% have spent money" figure is unclear -- does it mean they spent money in-game in F2P-games, or does it also count people buying a game in the first place?

Avatar image for onixevil

Gabe should make a special deal for those countries.

Avatar image for BabeNewelll

Now we know who to blame for piracy problems on PC, China giving us a bad name.

Avatar image for n0xinab0x

What exactly is the definition of a "hardcore" gamer?

Avatar image for fgjnfgh

<< LINK REMOVED >> to me, I see it the way you spend so many hours a day playing games. Not on iphone/androids though. Those do not count as gaming to me at all

Avatar image for insloanwetrust

<< LINK REMOVED >> You play for at least 4 hours each day. You buy new games, new systems and you're the one spending money. That's what they mean by the core gamer. The one who brings up the attach rate for a consoles games. Some people will buy one system per gen and 5 games per year. A core gamer will buy 3 times as many games at least in that year and will have more than one gaming system.

Avatar image for DanZillaUK

<< LINK REMOVED >> People who have a Shiny team in Pokemon without game-sharking it.

Avatar image for fgjnfgh

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> not necessarily shiny, to say the most important thing in your pokemon team is maxed IV's which is a pain in the ass if you are like me who likes to try different types of pokemons with different EV's spread and different natures. Thank god for pokedit. Otherwise I am ok with anti hacking pokemons, but game freak isn't that tight regards hacked pokemons

Avatar image for onixevil

<< LINK REMOVED >> Hardcore doesn't always define who spend more on gaming. You could go with budget to collect many cheap games or retro games and still can catch up with the community .

Avatar image for onixevil

<< LINK REMOVED >> Geek gamers .

Avatar image for 123whatever

Not really a fair statement. Majority of american population are illegals.

Avatar image for xantufrog

<< LINK REMOVED >> did they take your jorbs?

Avatar image for charliezard

<< LINK REMOVED >> wat

Avatar image for tightwad34

Yeah, and if America had at least half the number of people of China they would have much more people playing video games. Not sure what the point of this is. People like games.

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

Wow! reading this comments makes me wonder when did Gamespot got invaded by so many racist teenagers.


Avatar image for tightwad34

<< LINK REMOVED >> You can't fix stupid.

Avatar image for qtmew

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> True, it does not have a cure.

Avatar image for shingui5


You must be new to the internet.

The racist teenagers are unfortunately a very loud voice.

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

<< LINK REMOVED >> This place used to be moderated and a lot more free of unfunny childs like to one that commented right before you.

Avatar image for shingui5


It all went downhill after Fail_Troll got banned :(

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

<< LINK REMOVED >> Congrats of making yourself an example.

Avatar image for fgjnfgh

9.7% of all Chinese gamers have spent money only? Unbelievable. This means they only play games like Dota and LoL, so they are not diverse.

Avatar image for samidiab

<< LINK REMOVED >>No, that means the piracy in china is off the hook.

Avatar image for cctv100

Oh god! 9.7% does not mean 92.3% Chinese gamers play pirated games. Actually, 99.9% Chinese-made games are F2P, which means you do not need to spend any of your little penny!

Avatar image for steelmouth

The problem with China is not a lack of market the problems is that them dude are just way too cool and the gang with pirated everything and I mean everything (If the police can't bust a thousand of square meters car assembly line how can the bust pirated games), Well I guess they do manufacture most of the fake stuff so they have to buy their own fake pirated products