Europeans spent 8.5bn on games in ’08

Market data firm GameVision provided some key insight into the games market in Europe at a talk at the Edinburgh Interactive conference this morning, revealing that €8.5bn was spent on software last year.

However the firm said that the widely reported rise of casual and massmarket gamers hasn’t accounted for a large part of that spending.

The spending came from some 76 million ‘active gamers’ in the region (an ‘active gamer’ in GameVision terms being ‘someone who has bought spent money on a platform or game in the last 12 months’).

While that number of players had increased, meaning the industry reaches more casual audiences, the market hasn’t changed that much over the last five years, the company said – the rising revenues generated by the industry come from the wider number of players overall, rather than each of them paying more.

Our market has expanded dramatically, but things haven’t changed much,” said GameVision’s Crawford Christie.

Despite the massive growth, what was happening in 2004 is roughly the same as we are today. What we haven’t seen is the expansion in the market associated with a decline in the number of games people are buying.”

The number of gamers per country is up across the board in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – with the first three fluctuating as to which is biggest.

So where has the growth been seen?

GameVision said there has been a rise in spending on both handheld and consoles, which accounted for €2.202bn and €5.158m each of the larger €8.5bn number, over the last few years. Console specifically was up 40 per cent since 2007. PC accounted for €1.135m of that, meanwhile.

Meanwhile the headcount of active gamers has risen amongst the 10 to 19 age range; that demographic is now close to 25m people, up from 15m six years ago. The 30 to 44 age range has also grown – it started at 6m people and is now at 14m.

For Christmas 2009, 45 per cent of the market will be 10 to 19 year olds, 24 per cent will be 20 to 29 year olds, nine percent will be 30 to 34 year olds, and 22 per cent will be 35-45 year olds.

This is proof that what has changed in the market place is the squeezing of the core marketplace, which we knew so well, due to interest in older and younger markets” said Christie.

He added that there has been a rise in ‘marginal’ and ‘dabbler’ players – who now account for 20,230m in Europe, buying one or two games a year, and are roughly 40 per cent of the marketplace now – but they only account for four per cent of that €8.5bn market.

Although we’ve talked enormously about the casual market and the opportunities that proves we have yet to monetise its potential,” added Christie.

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