China’s internet cafes are dying. Here’s 5 ways that could that affect the gaming scene

On 11/12/2013 by Site Default

Since the beginning of video gaming in China, internet cafes have played an integral role in the development of the country’s gaming culture. For many of China’s gamers, they were the only way to access games, as most Chinese homes don’t have a console or an internet-equipped PC to game with.

But all that is changing, and changing fast. While internet cafes may still be the only refuge for gamers in rural areas, gamers in developed cities increasingly have internet access in their homes, and PCs, laptops, or mobiles capable of playing games without the need to pay an hourly fee for the privilege of sitting in a dark, smoky room with shirtless strangers. A recent Tencent survey found that 10,000 internet cafes in China had closed between 2011 and 2012 — the first time that number has dropped in a decade — and most other key indicators are down too. Customers are down. Revenue is down. Things aren’t looking good.

Of course, the internet cafe isn’t about to disappear. Most people in China still don’t own PCs, and even if internet cafes are closing at a rate of 10,000 per year, there were still more than 136,000 of them as of the end of 2012, so they’ll still be around for a while.

But as their importance in Chinese gaming culture fades, gamers and developers alike will probably want to know what changes this shift could bring to China’s gaming industry. Here are a few ideas:



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