Top most played online games in China

Top 10 Most Played Online Games in China

Last Updated on June 11, 2024

The rapid development of China’s digital ecosystem came with the explosive popularity of online games. In fact, this industry attracts over 668 million gamers, which is almost half of the overall Chinese population.

Before you venture into the Chinese gaming market, it’s important to know what online games are the most played in China. These insights will help you understand local preferences and consumption behaviors within the country.


What are the most popular online games in China?


Top 3 games in China


1.   Honor of Kings

Honor of Kings is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game released by Timi Studio Group and published by Chinese tech giant Tencent Games. Since its release in 2015, it has managed to maintain its popularity and garnered a large player base of 146 million.

The influence of Honor of Kings cannot be denied, considering that an average local player spends around six hours playing this popular Chinese game. In 2021, its declared gross revenue reached over $218.5 million, making it one of the highest-earning mobile games in the world.


Honor of Kings online game China

Honor of Kings Promotional Poster (Source: Google Play)


Like most Chinese online games, Honor of Kings has a very strategic gameplay. Its five-on-five battle format requires teamwork and interaction with other players, making it enticing to young Chinese people looking to make new friends.

Perhaps one of the contributing factors that made this a popular game in China is its easy account integration with local social media platforms like WeChat and QQ. It also works well for word-of-mouth marketing, as existing players can recruit or invite guild members through these channels.


Honor of Kings official website

Source: Honor of Kings Official Website


2.   Fantasy Westward Journey

Many popular games in China typically incorporate Chinese culture within their gameplay, and Fantasy Westward Journey is one of those titles. It’s based on the 16th-century local classic novel called Journey to the West.

This online game accounts for 25% of NetEase’s $30B declared user spending in the first quarter of 2024. With over 202 million peak players, Fantasy Westward Journey has already released several game updates, including 2D and 3D scenarios.


Fantasy westward journey Honor of Kings online game China

Fantasy Westward Journey Promotional Poster (Source: NetEase Games)


Although Fantasy Westward Journey is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), it introduces drama and romance into its gameplay. These elements make Fantasy Westward Journey attract more female gamers in China than other popular titles.

In 2015, it was also the first Chinese game to feature 3D animations and character designs in the domestic market. This trend led many online games in China to follow suit, thus providing the local gaming market with new user experiences.


3.   Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact is arguably the most popular game developed by a Chinese company that made a remarkable entrance into the global market. Its single-player action roleplaying format has captured video gamers seeking free-to-play, high-quality gaming content.

Although this online game already has an international player base, a significant portion of its 60 million active monthly users are based in China. The online game achieved substantial popularity quickly after its release in September 2020 and continues to attract a large and dedicated audience.


Genshin impact promotional poster

Genshin Impact Promotional Poster (Source: Google Play)


By early 2024, it reached a milestone of $5 billion in global consumer spending, with approximately $1.5 billion of this revenue coming from China alone. These figures signify how domestic players are still eager to spend money within Genshin Impact’s ecosystem.

The game’s influence extends beyond revenue and player numbers. Genshin Impact has significantly impacted the Chinese gaming market and culture. It has set new standards for mobile game development and monetization, particularly with its highly lucrative “gacha” system.


4.   CrossFire

CrossFire is one of the many games Tencent has published in the Chinese market. In fact, it’s among the first competitive shooter gaming formats to gain massive popularity in the country.

Chinese players particularly liked the fun and thrill of having two teams fight for survival. Although the gameplay is pretty straightforward, it requires player coordination and strategic maneuvers that appeal to Gen Z and Millennial gamers.


CrossFire online game China

Source: CrossFire Official QQ Page


The online game garnered an average player base of 22 million monthly active users in 2020. It continues to grow popular and has even established major esports events in the country, like CrossFire Pro League and CrossFire Stars.


5.   Clash of Clans (维基)

Clash of Clans (CoC) remains one of China’s most popular mobile games despite its slight decline in the global game market. The country holds the third-highest usage for this game, mainly due to its format that targets mobile users.

In 2022, the game’s estimated user base was 75 million globally. China is among the top three countries with the game’s highest daily player participation rates.


Source: Polygon


While SuperCell developed it, Tencent published a localized version of CoC to entice Chinese audiences to play the game. True to its brand localization strategy, the tech giant released exclusive skins, sceneries, rankings, and upgrades for avid mobile gamers in China.


6.   League of Legends

China holds the most extensive LoL player base globally, with over 70 million active players as of early 2024. In terms of revenue, the game consistently performed well locally, generating an impressive revenue of $364.6 million in 2021.

Today, it has a thriving esports scene, with numerous professional teams and tournaments contributing to its popularity.


League of legends online game China

Source: League of Legends Official QQ Page


The game is a staple in Chinese esports, with events like the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) drawing large audiences and generating significant viewership. Its local success spurred the growth of related industries, including streaming platforms and gaming merchandise.

Major tournaments and events related to League of Legends are broadcast widely in the Chinese digital landscape. They often draw millions of viewers, and top players are celebrated as celebrities.


7.   Honkai Impact 3rd (崩坏3)

While not the most popular game from miHoYo, Honkai Impact has an estimated player base of around 710,000.

The game accounts for about 18% of the total user spending among miHoYo’s top mobile games, which collectively reached $8 billion in user spending. This indicates a substantial revenue stream from China, as the game remains popular and profitable in its home market​.


Honkai impact online game China

Source: Honkai Impact Official Website


Since it was released before Genshin Impact, this game has set a benchmark for action RPGs with its high-quality graphics, engaging storyline, and deep character development.


8.   Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (决胜巅峰)

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) has recently re-entered the Chinese market under the name 决胜巅峰” (jue sheng dian feng), or “The Pinnacle of Decisive Victory,” following approval from the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) in April 2023.

This approval has allowed the game to commence pre-registrations and beta testing, with significant player interest and engagement expected​.


Mobile legends BangBang online game China

Mobile Legends:Bang Bang Promotional Character Poster (Source: Taptap)


Given MLBB’s global success with over 1 billion downloads and more than 100 million monthly active users, the anticipation for its performance in China is high. The Chinese gaming community’s response to the beta testing has seen promising interest and results.

With exclusive characters and features specifically designed for Chinese players, its local entry will likely enhance the diversity of available MOBA games in China.


9.   Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

China covers over 7.54% of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s user base. While that may seem insignificant, it accounts for more than 110,000 players in this globally renowned game.

In 2023, CS:GO generated over $980 million in revenue, with a significant portion coming from microtransactions, such as selling in-game skins and cases. The Chinese market, known for its high engagement in virtual economies, has contributed meaningfully to this figure​.


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Chinese Promo Poster

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Chinese Promo Poster (Source: Fandom Wiki)


With several Chinese teams and players actively participating in international tournaments, the game has bolstered the esports ecosystem in the region. Just last year, the CS:GO Asia Championships was held in Shanghai.


10.   PUBG Mobile (Peacekeeper Elite)

Peacekeeper Elite, the Chinese adaptation of PUBG Mobile, continues to be immensely popular in China, with 50 million daily active users (DAUs). As of April 2024, the country accounted for 66% of global player spending on PUBG Mobile, reflecting the game’s high monetization potential in the Chinese market​.


PUBG Mobile (Peacekeeper Elite)



Peacekeeper Elite is a central component of China’s e-sports ecosystem, mainly through events like the Peacekeeper Elite League (PEL). For example, the PEL Spring 2024 season has a prize pool of approximately $2.4 million, clearly showing the competitive and financial stakes in the game’s e-sports scene​.


Can Brands Utilize Popular Games for Advertising in China?

Beyond actual game marketing, did you know that regular consumer brands can utilize the popularity of online games in China? Here are a few strategies to consider:


●     Brand Partnerships

Besides in-app purchases, Chinese gamers are eager to purchase collectibles and products related to the games they’re playing. This is one reason why brand partnerships work well in generating local visibility and potential sales for the business.

One of the best examples of these collaborations is the project between Genshin Impact and Hey Tea. Within three days of its launch, a single store recorded an impressive sale of 3,600 cups. The campaign also generated 3 million cups of co-branded beverages.


Genshin Impact’s Collaboration with HeyTea

Genshin Impact’s Collaboration with HeyTea (Source: Weibo Post)


●     Collaborating with Gaming KOLs

China has a large population of gamers, and among them are influencers with a dedicated community that listens to their recommendations and thoughts. Beyond just playing the game, these KOLs are active on local social media platforms.

They often utilize live-streaming platforms to interact with their followers in real-time. Compared to big commercial brands, this strategy allows them to build a more personal connection with the community.


SDG’s work with Sennheiser Gaming: KOL Livestreaming Sessions

SDG’s work with Sennheiser Gaming: KOL Livestreaming Sessions


Top Game Companies in the Chinese Market

●     Tencent Holdings Limited

Tencent is a behemoth in the gaming world, not just in China but globally. Known for its extensive portfolio, Tencent owns and operates some of the most popular games and gaming platforms.

Titles such as Honor of Kings and PUBG Mobile are part of its game publishing portfolio, making it a dominant force in mobile and online gaming.


●     NetEase, Inc.

NetEase is another powerhouse in the Chinese gaming market, renowned for its ability to develop and publish hit games. Known for titles such as Fantasy Westward Journey and Onmyoji, NetEase has carved out a significant share of the market.

Its collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment to operate games like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone in China highlights its pivotal role in bringing global gaming experiences to Chinese players.


●     miHoYo

This company gained great popularity in recent years for developing Genshin Impact, one of the most popular games and the highest-grossing title in the world.

The game not only became one of the most popular games globally but also the highest-grossing title, showcasing miHoYo’s expertise in game development and its understanding of both domestic and international markets.


Top game publishers in China


Ready to Dominate the Chinese Gaming Market?

The Chinese gaming market has continued to attract more players in recent years despite the strict regulations and laws surrounding it. With a massive user base comes ever-changing consumer behaviors and trends, so it’s crucial to know what games are currently popular in China.


You may also want to read:

Gaming Market China


At Sekkei Digital Group, our team has extensive industry experience handling game-related campaigns in the Chinese market. We’re also equipped with the right skills and expertise to help your brand connect with the country’s tech-savvy gaming population.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether you want to promote on local social media platforms or collaborate with domestic gaming KOLs, we have all the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let’s discuss how you’ll enter the Chinese market.


contact us SDG


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