Understanding the value of a European video games society
Gaming is becoming increasingly popular with the EU video gaming market generating €23.48 billion of revenue in 2022. On behalf of the European Commission (DG CNECT) we examined the economic, social, and cultural aspects of the European video game industry, and how its value and benefits for Europe can be maximised.
Initiated by the European Parliament as a pilot project, the European Video Games Society project was launched in 2022 and completed in 2023. This project aims to assist the European Commission in developing a better understanding of the video game sector, of its impact on a range of policy areas, and of how the EU could play a targeted and active role in supporting the sector’s development through specific policy approaches and objectives.
On behalf of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT) of the European Commission we undertook this study together with KEA European Affairs. Our work engaged over 400 sector representatives, mainly from video games companies themselves, through workshops, interviews and a survey which, together with a literature review, informed the findings of the study. We reviewed a range of economic, social and cultural issues in relation to the video gaming sector – looking at growth in market revenues, industry trends, workforce and training needs, as well as the range of social and cultural benefits of the industry.
Video games play a significant role in European society, not only as a cultural-economic sector, but also as a noteworthy part of people’s daily life. The EU accounts for one third of the overall market value in the global video game market and displays a high growth rate compared to other economic sectors. As home to some of the largest and well-known game publishers and game studios, the EU produces prominent video games which influence the cultural scene around the globe.
- The EU27 video games market generated EUR €23.48 billion of revenue in 2022, with revenues in the sector being 4.3 times higher than digital music and 1.8 times higher than video-on-demand.
- The sector is an important part of the CCIs ecosystem, and it has seen significant growth, with revenues expected to reach EUR 34.28 billion by 2027 (a 45% increase on current levels).
- The number of European gamers increased significantly over the COVID-19 pandemic, and now over half of the European population regularly play video games. On the other hand, the EU market share of the global market has seen a slight decline from 8.7% in 2017 to a predicted 7.3% in 2027.
- The complex nature of video games is clearly reflected in the breadth of the regulatory framework applicable to the industry. The regulatory framework applicable to Intellectual Property protection in Europe is robust and the video game sector can adequately protect the various creative elements constitutive of video games, though enforcement can be challenging.
- The sector employs around 74,000 people across 5,000 game development and publishing studios in Europe. In the EU27, 40% of firms report difficulties in recruitment and finding the skills that they need. Many small companies lack the resource and capacity to both recruit new staff and retrain existing staff.
- Video games are an important part of Europe’s cultural landscape, as their artistic and creative dimension distinguish them from other technological products. This growing recognition is clear in terms of policymaking as video games become prevalent in key cultural and creative policy documents.
The research is the first study of its kind and lays a basis for future policy making in relation to the video game sector. The study indicates that any future EU strategy should aim to increase the competitiveness of the video games sector to enable future growth and bring about greater benefits. The report put forward nine recommendations to enable the best conditions for maximum economic, social and cultural impacts of video games in and for Europe, as the competitiveness of the EU sector in the global marketplace can be strengthened.
Read our full report here.