In collaboration with European Games Developer Federation (EGDF), local organization Video Games Europe (VGE) prepared the All about Video Games. 2022 European Key Facts report. With data from Ipsos Mori, Games Sales Data (GSD), and GameTrack, this fourth edition about Europe’s video games sector focuses on culture, creativity and technology.
There were surveys of 60,000 people aged between 6 and 64 (12,000 each from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain). The study shows that European games revenues rose to €24.5 billion in 2022, unit sales expanded to 40.3 million, and the number of people employed by the industry climbed to 110,000.
In terms of revenue, last year’s numbers represented a 5% increase compared to the €23.3 billion generated in both 2021 and 2020, and higher than the €21.6 billion taken in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. About devices, 42% of this revenue was generated by console games, up from 41% the year before, while a further 42% was provided by mobile, 13% came from PC, with the remaining 3% from streaming services and other online models.
When breaking down revenue by media type, 41.5% came from paid apps and in-app purchases, although this was down from 45% in 2021. Another 41.5% derived from digital purchases, including full game downloads and DLC. Physical games accounted for 17% of European games revenue, down from 19%.
PRODUCTS AND PLAYERS
Video Games Europe noted that, while there were fewer games released for consoles in 2022 compared to 2021 (549 titles as opposed to 564), the total number of units sold was actually higher. 40.3 million games were sold in 2022, up 12.6% from the 35.8 million shifted in 2021 and the same amount that was sold in 2020.
The rise in unit sales was attributed to major releases, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Elden Ring, God of War Ragnarok, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
Looking into demographics, the analysis explains that 126.5 million people played video games across its chosen European territories in 2022, up marginally by 1.4% over the previous year. This means 53% of people in Europe aged 6 to 64 play video games. Here’s a more profound explanation: 25% age 45-64 (31.3 million people, 1 million more than in 2022, the largest growth shown by any age demographic); 21% age 15-24; 19% age 25-34; 18% age 6-14, and 17% age 35-44. Most age groups had increased by 1%, although 25 to 34 and 15 to 24 were both down 1% year-on-year. The average age of European gamers is 32.
As expected, younger people are the more likely to be gamers. 81% of 11-14 year olds play video games (the highest proportion of all age groups), compared with 36% of 45-64 year olds (the lowest). Both were up 1% year-on-year.
When taking a look at genres, the report reveals that 59 million women account for 46.7% of European game players. The average game-playing woman is 33 years old, and plays 7.5 hours per week. From the total, 44% of women were aged 35 to 64, with 31% between 18 and 21 years old, and 25% between 6 and 17.
PLAYTIME IS COOLING DOWN
The time spent playing video games per week has returned to similar levels as they were before the pandemic. The average number of hours spent by European gamers engaging with the hobby per week was 8.8, same as 2018. This dipped to 8.6 hours in 2019, before rising to 9.5 in 2020. That indicator fell again to 9 hours in 2021, so the rate of decline has slowed.
By comparison, European consumers spend 14 hours per week on social media, 24 hours per week watching TV. 74% of gamers play at least one hour per week, with 17% playing at least once per month. 68% of those surveyed play games on smartphones or tablets, up from 63% in 2021. 58% play on consoles (up from 54%), while 48% play on PC (down from 52%).
A GROWING WORKFORCE
Video Games Europe shared that there are 110,000 people employed across ten selected markets, up 12.2% from the 98,000 recorded in 2021. The UK was by far the biggest territory at 20,975 employees, following by France at 18,000. Here’s the full ranking: 1) UK 20,975 people; 2) France 18,000; 3) Poland 12,100; 4) Germany 10,960; 5) Spain 8,833; 6) Sweden 7,944; 7) Romania 3,736; 8) Netherlands 3,736; 9) Finland 3,550, and 10) Czech Republic 2,329.
According to VGE, 23.7% of this industry workforce is formed by women. While this is up from 22% the previous year, and higher than the 17% recorded in the European IT sector, the trade body emphasized there is still more work to do in addressing the gender imbalance across the industry workforce. The majority of employees are in the development area, with art being the biggest discipline. Here are the stats: Arts 26%; Programming 21%; Design 20%; Production 9%; QA 5%; Audio 3%, and Other 15%.
These indicators reflect a growing trend that continues today. Latest GSD figures showed 11.6 million console and PC games were sold in July 2023 across Europe, up 34% over the same period in 2022. Digital downloads represented nearly 7.9 million of that (up 60%), while physical was 3.75 million (up 0.2%).