Officials representing the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) have released details from a new report into the European games market, which shows an increasing acceptance for video games across all demographics.
The new research was conducted in fifteen separate European markets (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia), with people between 16 and 49 years of age admitting that they play games for almost as often as they watch television or socialize with friends and family.
In the UK, 37 percent of those aged between 16 and 49 described themselves as “active gamers”, with 28 percent in Spain and Finland. Of those aged 30 to 49,, a total of 33 percent were classified as active gamers, with 23 percent in Finland, and 16 percent in Spain. At the same time, 29 percent of women aged 16 to 49 were active gamers, with 18 percent in Spain and Finland.
More than six in ten gamers from the three countries played online, with 62 percent indicating that it was a key part of the overall gaming experience. A total of 72 percent of gamers used their console as a multimedia device for browsing the Internet, playing DVDs or listening to music.
The research was conducted by Nielsen Games and found that 40 percent of people play between 6 and 14 hours of video games per week. Of these, 72 percent played for fun, 57 percent played as a way to “stimulate the imagination” and 45 percent suggested that gaming “makes them think”.
A total of 81 percent of parents said they also play games with their children, with more than half monitoring what their children play and buy. Of those that did not play games at all 48 percent said that a lack of time was the primary reason.
The report also provides additional market information, with software sales in nine major European markets reaching €7.3 billion ($11.5bn) in 2007 – an increase of 25 percent year on year. The UK continued to be the biggest single software market at €2.3 billion ($3.6bn), followed by France at €1.6 billion ($2.5bn), Germany at €1.4 billion ($2.2bn), Spain at €0.7 billion ($1.1bn) and Italy at €0.6 billion ($0.9bn).
Jens Uwe Intat, chairman of the ISFE board said: “Our research findings cement what those who work in the industry understand as a given, namely that video games hold a recognized place in today’s entertainment culture. The people that are video gaming today are of all ages, of both genders and of all nationalities.”