Europe is a significant region within the video game industry, comprising nearly $20 billion of a $76 billion industry, according to a Big Fish blog post. A key figure of note is that Western Europe has a higher average spend per paying mobile gamer than any other market worldwide - $4.40 average spend versus North America's $3.87 and Asia Pacific's $2.86 (Newzoo). Companies looking to go global often have their games translated into EFIGS – English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish – due to the market reach of these languages and sometimes elect to use Scandinavian languages as well, vastly expanding their global reach to attain a high share of Western European gamers. (Be sure to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay informed of our upcoming pages about the market reach of these languages.)
While it is of course preferable to localize for each individual country, we are aware that is not always an option due to budgetary constraints. That is why we aggregated information on the leading Western European markets to aid you in your localization decisions.
In Western Europe, the UK ranks highest on spending rates for digital game content (MarketResearch.com). Online gaming remains a significant portion of the gaming market in the UK, with 20% of the population playing games online. Mobile gaming is also expected to rise, given that 50% of all tablet owners play games on their tablets.
In addition to the popularity of online and mobile gaming in the UK, it also ranks #2 in the world for console gaming (behind France), with 71% of its nearly 35 million gamers playing games on consoles (Newzoo).
According to Newzoo, France is currently #1 in the world for TV and console gaming, with 72% of nearly 30 million gamers playing on a TV/console.
According to MarketResearch.com, Germany is the leading European country by monthly revenue per paying user, with downloads generating the highest revenue on the online gaming market in 2013. In fact, Newzoo reports that Germany is "#1 in the world when it comes to the payer/player ratio with 70% of gamers paying for games." While console and PC platforms remain popular in Germany, mobile gamers are also increasing the amount of time spent playing, as well as the amount of money spent (PR Newswire). Out of the nearly 40 million gamers in Germany, the highest number of gamers play on social/casual platforms (roughly 32 million), followed by PC/Mac gamers at 26.3 million, smartphone gamers at 23.2 million, and TV/console gamers at 22.7 million.
Numbers for the German market continue to rise, from 38.5 million gamers in 2012 to nearly 40 million in 2014, coupled with the fact that paying players jumped from 64% to 70%, the highest rate of any country in the world (Newzoo). Germany has continued to lead Western European game sales over the years, becoming Europe’s largest video game market in 2009, while maintaining strong numbers during the global economic downturn (Wired).
Spain has 19.5 million gamers, with more gamers playing on social and casual platforms (16.6 million), followed by 13.7 million on TV and console, 13.2 million on smartphone, 12.8 million on PC/Mac, and 9.3 million on MMOs.
It is important to localize for Spain’s variation of Spanish when attempting to reach this market, as vocabulary, idioms, cultural references, etc. vary greatly between European Spanish and Latin American Spanish. LAI delves into the distinctions between these varieties through a popular Gamasutra article.
Italy has 21 million gamers and is #3 in Europe for tablet gaming, with 25% of Italian gamers playing on tablets (Newzoo).
Europe is certainly one of the most profitable markets for video game consumption in the world, ranking behind Asia Pacific and North America in terms of revenue. Combined with the fact that many of the languages for translation and localization in the area also encompass a significant portion of the global video game market (due to the wide reach of these languages), game companies who typically look to the major languages frequently request to have their games translated to English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and sometimes Swedish. Be sure to check out our upcoming pages on the market reach of these languages for more information (or subscribe to our monthly e-newletter to stay up-to-date).
LAI strives to keep game developers and publishers updated on key markets for localization. If you find any errors or have additional information to add, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stay informed of our new webpages by subscribing to LAI's monthly e-newsletter. Please check back soon on LAI's Global Game Industry Statistics page as we frequently update our web content to reflect new industry statistics and market projections. Latest page update: July 2014.