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Gaming industry flying high
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

The Chinese online games industry is expected to ride high over the next five years, boosted by demand for mobile games, e-sports and overseas expansion, industry bigwigs said at a forum on the sidelines of the 19th Shanghai TV Festival which opened yesterday.

The games industry will integrate with TV and smartphones and also holds potential opportunities for traditional media in transformation, said Shanghai Media Group or SMG, the city's biggest media group.

In 2012, China's online games industry revenue reached 60.3 billion yuan (US$9.6 billion), growing 35.1 percent year-on-year.

The market revenue is expected to touch 135.2 billion yuan in 2017, according to International Data Corp, a US-based research firm.

Shanghai-based Shanda Entertainment is riding on the smartphones popularity by investing heavily on mobile games development. It generated more than 100 million yuan from mobile business in the first quarter, compared to less than 10 million a year ago.

Blizzard Entertainment, which has developed popular titles like StarCraft, Diablo and World of Warcraft, plans to unveil a new game by the end of this year which will support Apple's iOS and Android mobile systems, said Alex Tai, managing director of Blizzard China.

"The quality of the game is still our first priority, whether it's on PC or on phone," Tai said.

The first-class games are also suitable for e-sports, which will help the industry to establish a healthy eco-system.

E-sports, with TV and online broadcast, have established a bridge between professional players and fans, according to Zhang Dazhong, vice-president of SMG. SMG has a games channel since 2004, which broadcasts 2,000 hours of programs annually to 50 million audience.

The games industry is a potential business opportunity for SMG which is diversifying from traditional media group to new sectors like TV shopping, film production and games-related business, according to Zhang.

The industry has also been boosted by exports, which reached 3.5 billion yuan in 2012, a 57 percent growth year-on-year, according to IDC.

Beijing-based Perfect World has established development and research centers in the United States. It has purchased the rights for designs of popular titles like Star Trek.

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