Gamasutra In-Depth: Inside China's Gaming Cafes

Chinese internet cafés are surprisingly important to the nation's online game market, according to a new survey that turned up some interesting insights on the popularity of Western games in the cafés, the male-female player ratio, and the cafés' overall cultural role.

507 internet cafés in 18 Chinese cities participated in the study, and Lisa Hanson of research group Niko Partners explains that residents of large cities, like Shanghai and Beijing, rely on internet cafés for online gaming, socialization and competition with friends -- despite owning home PCs.

On the other hand, in China's more rural areas and smaller cities, internet cafés may be most gamers' sole source of internet access and online gameplay.

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