The demographics of gaming around the world is changing fast, and there's no better evidence of that than the fact that there will be more Chinese players on the PC platform than the entire population of the United States by 2023. As higher end consumer technology demand continues to grow among the immense Chinese populace, the gaming industry will have to realign its sights to better accommodate the nation's growing number of gamers, while taking care to safeguard itself from potential harms.
Anyone who already keeps up with PC or mobile gaming in China likely isn't surprised by this projection. Distributors of entertainment products and services have been increasingly tailoring them for Chinese audiences and censorship laws. This is done not only to ensure that their goods are successful in China, but that they release there at all. Asia's influence on entertainment can also be felt in other ways, such as the huge investments being made by state-sponsored conglomerates like Tencent and NetEase, Chinese companies that have gained strong footholds in foreign economies this way. In Tencent's case, acquiring big shares in companies like Epic Games has direct impact on business within the US, exemplified by Epic using Tencent money to go on an Epic Games Store exclusivity spree and purchase Rocket League creator Psyonix.
Barring outside interference, it seems that trend isn't slowing down anytime soon. According to Asian market research firm Niko Partners, China remains "the largest and most important market for PC online games" and accounts for "more than half of PC online games revenue worldwide." Currently, China's gaming scene already accounts for a whopping 312 million PC players, and by 2023 that figure will rise even higher to 354 million, "larger than the population of the United States." Of course, where there are players, there is spending, and that figure will rise from an annual $15 billion revenue to $16 billion over the same five-year period.
As this isn't the 1950s, the sheer size of the Chinese population and their growing access to computers, games, and the internet isn't cause for moral panic However, this market trend, coupled with China's oppressive economic and political apparatuses, should be concerning to Westerners, especially when considering that Chinese companies like Tencent purchasing stock in major US publishers and studios is tantamount to the Chinese Communist Party taking out its checkbook and buying them itself. There are no fears of communism here; rather, the issue lies in the notoriously Chinese government's growing control over foreign entertainment entities via capitalist means and all of the censorship and ethical concerns that come with it.
It should be remembered that Epic Games was seemingly on its last leg before Tencent acquired a large minority stake in the company in 2012. A mere seven years later, and Epic is one of the fastest growing gaming entities around, and it's not the only US company that's heavily reliant on Chinese money. The market trends in China and abroad are speaking loudly and clearly that it's high time that those fast-developing, highly populated areas get some creative love, too, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's great! However, it will be up to non-Chinese companies and legislators to curb the growing potential for Chinese state influence to sneak into places where it doesn't belong. If that threat isn't taken seriously and acted upon swiftly, the long-term economic consequences could be severe.
Source: Niko Partners