Every year studies and trends readjust our understanding of just how massive the online games industry is in China. Given the number of players, the number of companies, and the sheer time spent gaming in that country, it's probably not surprising that these numbers are a moving target. A recent study done by Interfax China, and reported by Softpedia, indicates that their already megalithic playing population will only increase in size through next year
. By 2010, the article reports, "the online gaming industry of the Communist state will reach 18.21 RMB or 2.67 billion dollar."
Given the signs of a shrinking PC gaming market here in the states, it's especially worth noting the very different attitude that Eastern gamers have towards non-console gaming. As explored in a number of articles here on Massively in the past, gaming in Asia often has the same sense of sociability that a night at the bowling alley does in the West. Among the youth of South Korea, China, and other nearby cultures PC gaming is not only fun and a social activity, but actually seen as pretty cool. Given the exploding youth populations of those nations, this stratospheric rise in online gaming will probably continue for some time to come.