IP-based games created by Chinese gaming companies brought in 129.5 billion yuan in total revenue in 2019 on mobile platforms and are expected to generate 150.0 billion yuan in 2020, according to a recent report from research firm Analysys.
IP-based games refer to titles developed using intellectual properties — characters, plots, world settings — from other games, movies, novels, or comic series. According to the Analysis report, IP-based games have been one of the major propellants of the growth of China’s mobile game industry since as early as 2014.
Revenues from mobile IP-based games grew substantially in 2019, increasing by 33.2% year-on-year to 129.5 billion yuan. While this rate is likely to deaccelerate in the next few years, it would remain relatively stable at around 15.8% and 13.2% in 2020 and 2021, respectively. By 2021, revenues from IP-based games would contribute close to three-quarters of all mobile gaming revenues, or around 169.7 billion yuan, the report says.
While the number of IP-based games has dropped from accounting for 35.8% of all titles launched in 2018 to 28.5% of titles released in 2019, their performance has increased significantly during the period. Among the top 100 highest-grossing mobile titles in China in 2018, around 61% were IP-based. In 2019, the percentage increased to 73%.
In addition to generating high revenues, IP-based mobile titles have also been successful at attracting and retaining players, especially in non-casual genres. According to statistics from Analysys, among the top 350 non-casual mobile titles in terms of monthly active users (MAUs), 63% are IP-based.
Gaming companies that specialize in IP-based games include CMGE Technology Group, Shengqu Games, and Perfect World. CMGE, for instance, holds 99 gaming IPs as of 2019, surpassed only by Tencent. The company is also expected to leverage this edge to launch 38 new games in 2020. Perfect World, in the meantime, holds highly profitable and well-known IPs such as “Perfect World” and “Jade Dynasty.”