Is the European game market even more important that many think? Our in-depth Gamasutra feature
sifts through data for the tremendously diverse region to discover the current shape -- and prospects for growth -- for the area's complex ecosystem.
As it's still got a long way to go until it reaches North America's level of establishment, Europe is still considered an "emerging market," albeit a rapidly-growing one.
Lack of consistent data metrics makes this hard to quantify, though:
Eastern Europe is almost always absent from data aggregation, as are most Southern European countries where small businesses are still more prevalent than big box retailers.
Most data seems to come from the aforementioned markets, which leaves out a big slice of the European consumer base, including Benelux, Scandinavia, and the fast-growing Russian demographic. Therefore, while the information presented represents a sampling of Europe's most highly populated markets, the lack of a comprehensive sales aggregator does make a decisive analysis more difficult.
Partial Screen Digest data that focuses on the current-gen console market confirms Europe in second place with 110 million games sold to date in 2009 versus 168 million sold in North America:
When projected over a time span of several years, from 2005 to 2013, however, the data shows a slightly more consistent growth in Europe (+208%) than in North America (+186%). If this projection also applies to PC, handheld and downloadable titles, it is safe to assume that Europe is an emerging territory, although perhaps not growing as dramatically as we are commonly led to believe.
Annual sales reports from major publishers also seem to confirm this trend. Konami is perhaps the most exemplary case: during the last year the company sold 10 million games in Europe, versus 7.2 million in North America. The European success was partly due to the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, as one would expect, but it mostly depended on Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, a consistent franchise for that market.
The full feature offers a complete analysis
on the state of the European games business and its prevailing factors.