Since its introduction ten years ago, WeChat has become a real turning point in how mobile phones have been used in China and other parts of the world. Starting as only an instant messaging app, Tencent has moved it into a platform that allows you to pay from your phone, have video calls with family and friends, online purchases, and playing games directly from within the app.
Yesterday, WeChat’s team had their annual conference, WeChat Open Class, and shared a few insights and new features to look forward to in 2021. One topic that our team was very interested to know about was the growth of WeChat mini-games. A platform we support with Cocos Creator. Over 100,000 developers are building games for WeChat, so we are working hard to improve our engine and support most developers on this platform.
Though this might only be significant to the Chinese market, we feel that at times, the Chinese game market leads the innovation we’ll see come worldwide. So let’s look at what is happening with WeChat mini-games.
Who’s playing WeChat mini Games?
The most significant number to come from the event was the 500 million MAU this past year, a 25% increase from 2019. This shows a massive explosion in gamers using the platform, even though it’s only three years old since the launch of mini-games. DAU is currently at 400 million, with 1 billion people have played at least one WeChat mini-game since it’s inception.
The ratio of these gamers is straight down the middle at 50:50 male and female, and many of these gamers are over 30 years old, reaching 65% of the market. This leads to many new games directed to the women gamer, a trend we’ve been following in the past few years.
WeChat mini game players increased their gameplay time by 50% compared to 2019 and played 20% more games.
How much are developers making?
There has been a lot of growth in the types of games making money on the platform. It initially was RPG games making most of the money and slowly has moved towards strategy and MMORPGs for revenue streams, according to WeChat’s team.
Game retention has been excellent. One game has retained 70% of their active users with most big games locking in at 40% or better retentions. 44 games made over 10 million RMB (1.53 million USD) last year. Some games have been estimated to have made over 200 million RMB (30.7 million USD) in total revenue. On Android, games with IAP in one genre are hitting 2 billion RMB (307 million USD) in monthly sales.
What new insights shared at the conference?
One interesting research item found was that some games are split into two different types of genres: Games that have good core gameplay and good long-tail growth, and “Year Return” games that have you coming back to play a game for a set period of time every year such as popular hyper-casual or popular hits of the year before.
Another is the new release coming this year of streaming video of you playing the game to share with friends. This has been popularized with Twitch and other mobile game streaming sites, but WeChat seems to want in as well using the real-time engine that Cocos helped to create.
Want to know more about WeChat games?
We had three great articles built last year on games made for WeChat using Cocos Creator. Check them out to see what gamers are playing in China and our reviews on games built for WeChat on our blog.
Cocos has been an enormous promoter of the WeChat mini-game revolution happening, from the help in the creation of the framework behind the service to having Cocos Creator be the leader in building the games, we are excited to see what’s in store for 2021.
Though WeChat mini games are set mostly for the Chinese market, Cocos Play is offering the same experience with mini games available in many apps. If you are either an app developer or game developer, you might want to check out Cocos Play and experience what’s happening in this red hot experience.