Screenshot -- League of Legends
China has something of a reputation in the online gaming world as the land of many MMOs, but it looks like things may be changing soon. Gamasutra reports that a study by Niko Partners, an Asian game-market analytics firm, shows that "Chinese players are showing an increased demand for hardcore browser-based web games." According to the study, PC game revenue in China has grown by 37% in 2012 while online game operators' revenues have increased by 26%. The disparity in growth between the two suggests that the Chinese online gaming market is losing steam.

Interestingly, Gamasutra notes that the only outlier in the data is Tencent, operator of a number of traditional MMOs as well as the wildly popular League of Legends. That studio has managed to grow significantly. Niko Partners notes that this growth is a direct result of non-traditional titles like the MOBA it publishes in China. As Niko rep Lisa Cosmas Hanson noted, "For several years Niko has cautioned that the repetitive theme of cultural mythical history MMORPGs in China was beginning to bore gamers, and that new types of games would be necessary to revive waning demand for those games."

If you consider the size and importance of the Chinese online gaming market in the grand scheme of the industry, this paradigm shift could be a look toward the future of the MMO genre.

This article was originally published on Massively.