Just a couple days after the UK’s own annual results appeared, the German trade body, Game, has announced its own figures for 2019. And while the UK market was down by 2.1 per cent year on year, the German market was up by an impressive six per cent.
In real terms that was a rise from €5.9bn to €6.2bn year on year, which makes the market worth roughly £5.44bn (calculated at today’s exchange rate), which is roughly the same as the £5.35bn the UK spent on games (and related areas) in 2019.
It should be noted that the methodologies of the two market summaries are not comparable, but it gives us a broad idea that the markets are of similar sizes – despite Germany having 83m inhabitants, compared to 66m in Britain. But enough of this slightly fatuous nationalist comparison.
Digging into the detail of the report, we can see that sales of gaming hardware dropped by 2 per cent to €2.4bn. That shows the decline in hardware as we reach the end of the current generation, though the figure is somewhat softened by an inclusion of gaming PCs and hardware in that category, with PC gaming being a big part of the country’s gaming mix.
In games purchases were the big winner, rising from €1.95bn to €2.25bn, while fees for online services (including Xbox Game Pass, PS+, Stadia etc), rose from €353m to €461m. This was against a backdrop of a tiny fall in the figures for one-off game purchases, down from €1.08bn to €1.05bn.
‘The German games market developed amazingly well in 2019,’ says Felix Falk, Managing Director of game. ‘Up to now, the years at the end of a console generation have been comparatively weaker economically. But we aren’t seeing any [evidence of that] now. Revenue models like in-game purchases and fees for online services have become important columns of the games market. This means that, alongside the classic purchase of computer and video games, the long-term use of game titles is playing an ever greater role. The dynamic growth shows once again that games are one of the most important drivers of the digital world.’
With Coronavirus likely to skew the 2020 figures significantly, it’s at least good to see a fairly stable market, both in the UK and Germany, heading into what will be a rollercoaster year, with both new console launches and the virus to unpick out of next year’s figures.