Recent statistics from the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (IFSE) have revealed that the popularity of the online gaming community is set to continue to rise across Europe in 2020. As of 2018, the EU games market was worth a total of €21 billion with console gaming leading the charge at 47 percent of the total revenue. In the major markets in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, this number is also followed in at second place by mobile gaming and PC gaming in third place. According to Olaf Coenen, the IFSE chairman, these growing numbers can be attributed to "the industry's track record for pushing boundaries [which] continues to redefine entertainment, generate new business models and deliver technologies with cross-over potential."
One example of how the gaming industry has continued to generate new business models includes the creation of partnerships between game producers and publishers. Previously, Humble Bundle partnered up with the BIG Festival, providing a larger platform for Brazil’s indie games market, which managed to draw in a crowd of over 20,000 participants for their 2018 event. Another example is the gamescom video game fair in Germany, which attracted an estimated 373,000 visitors from over 100 countries for their 2019 event, including 31,300 trade visitors. These numbers have seen the event cited as the “most important business platform for the decision-makers of the European games industry.” In the last decade, the number of both local and global participants has increased annually, demonstrating the continued support for gamers and exhibitors.
The online aspect of gaming has also fostered many communities, which has made gaming much more accessible. In fact, many people play games for the sense of community they bring. World of Warcraft’s online community is often discussed as one of the biggest, longest-running bases out there, and some even start playing the game to experience it themselves. However, it’s not just classic games and RPGs that are drawing players through their social aspects, as less involved games have seen success doing so as well. PPPoker’s LinkedIn page explains that poker players can now create their own clubs and jump into Global Tournaments to compete with players across the world (even though they had once been confined to playing against an AI). Even games that were renowned for their single-player campaigns like The Last of Us are introducing “ambitious” multiplayer modes, as confirmed by Naughty Dog on Twitter.
Another major contributor to the rise of online gaming is the continued popularity of the esports industry. Statistics from Business Insider state that Asia-Pacific, North America, and Europe are the top three esports markets, respectively, in terms of audience and revenue. Esport viewing numbers also projected to grow from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023. This massive boost in popularity can be attributed to its prominent position in pop culture, as illustrated by the many gaming memes and dance moves going viral, as well as gaming-specific streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming for live streams. These provide a direct link between players and teams, while other platforms like Facebook and Instagram also popularize replays and tournaments.
From these numbers, it’s clear to see that the online gaming industry in Europe isn’t going away anytime soon. The mobile gaming segment is becoming more and more popular, with this format dominating around 45 percent of the total global games market in 2020, so this is where the future of the gaming industry is likely to be headed.