The 2012 Chinese Online Game User Behavioral Research Report, conducted by 17173.com (a popular gaming news website) and Enfodesk Analasys, is a comprehensive study on the behavior, preferences, and complaints of online video game users. In part one of the report, which you can view here, they reported on the average age and education level of users, common occupations, their average salary, where they typically play games, the kinds of graphics and genres they prefer, how they prefer to pay for games, and how they typically learn about for new games.
In part two, you can read more to see statistics on:
8. What users prefer to do in-game
9. How users spend their money (How do they pick the games they play, what in-game items do they buy, how willing are they to pay for things)
10. Community (Whether or not they join guilds/clans, how they pick which servers to join, which in and out of game special activities they like to participate in)
11. Common complaints and reasons to quit
12. Security preferences
8. How users play
Leveling has apparently largely increased in significance since 2010, according to Enfodesk.
9. How Users Spend Their Money
The ability to personalize your character and its skills, along with the audio/visual quality, appear to be the most important standard users have for their games. The difficulty of the game, the game’s story and universe, and the game’s connection speed have grown much closer together in the past few years.
Willingness to spend money in an online game
For many Chinese online users, spending money on games has become a habit, in order to “better experience the game.” 96% of Chinese users are willing to spend money on in-game items or game cards (which will also give you in-game perks). This is a substantial increase from last year.
With regard to how users prefer to pay, 38.6% prefer to pay directly online through online banking (presumably through a service like PayPal, or automatic renewals like the kind Blizzard uses). About an equal number prefer physical time-cards and virtual time-cards (21% and 19.3% respectively), compared to 7.6% who prefer “other”.
In-game Items people buy
In-game pets and mounts are still the biggest sellers among users, though equipment that enhances player abilities and stats has a higher growth than last year. Meanwhile, users unwilling to pay for in-game items has decreased year by year.
The proportion of people who have joined guilds/clans has increased since last year, and currently sits at 92.6%. The proportion of players who have quit their guilds/clans, however, has also increased.
Not much difference here from previous years. The first three criteria show that users value sociability, and that there is a strong word-of-mouth effect on how users choose their servers.
Preferred in and out of game activities
Increase rate of item drops has jumped its third place position last year to #1. Enfodesk says that while acitivity preferences change from year to year, “increased experience points”, “coupon”, and “increased item drops” are good ways to increase user activity.
11. Common Complaints
“Pay-to-win” (when a game puts better equipment and items on sale for real money, putting users who don’t want to buy at a disadvantage) has become the primary complaint among online game users. Compared to last year, user dissatisfaction has greatly increased, with players asking for fairness, balance, and improved software.
Reasons to quit
Plug-ins are still the primary factor prompting users to quit a game, but the impact of new games has lessened. Game content and game balance have, compared to past years, become more important to users.
Pretty evenly split on their feelings about paying for security measures, though obviously the majority would rather not pay at all. 33.17% said they wouldn’t mind paying a one-time fee; 29.03% said they wouldn’t mind paying a service fee of 30 RMB per year (about $5 USD); and 37.81% said they would not want to pay.