A new survey of gamers in Europe claims to have the first clear view of the continent’s games market, including boxed and digital stats.
The Interactive Software Federation of Europe this morning unveiled its new GameTrack survey, backed by Activision, Disney, EA, Microsoft, Namco Bandai Games, Sony, Take-Two and Ubisoft.
GameTrack is designed to draw together research into all types of video gaming into a single place and help publishers finally understand if or how their businesses are being impacted by the rise of online and mobile games, even emergent platforms like smart TVs.
READ MORE: 21m UK people play games, says ISFE
Research firm Ipsos MediaCT is collating the data through consumer surveys which ISFE will own. While subscriptions will be available to the industry, ISFE says the intention isn’t to make profit, but actually put a measure on the market.
Simon Little, ISFE’s managing director, likened the games industry to a sealed box.
"We know it’s there, but we don’t quite know what’s in it. There are considerable segments of the market missing."
He said that "all the other reports out there are compromised to some extent" because they focus on specific categories of the market.
"No one has tried to track an accurate method. It’s expensive, and not reliable to get that."
But he thinks Ipso’s survey method gets ISFE close enough. The methodology6700 people aged 6 and up per quarter per country – starting with the UK, France and Germany, with Spain coming soon, plus the USA and then more emerging and continental countries.
"This is all about the data," said Little.
"How big is the industry, how fast is it growing, which parts are growing fast?
"That’s what I am always asked by politicians, policy makers and journalists.
"The aim is not to turn a profit, but create more accurate data than has otherwise been possible."
A survey methodology won’t please everyone, but it has already won the backing of some of the most powerful games publishers in Europe, who are keen to get a grasp on how their business is changing.
Jens Uwe Intat, SVP for EA’s European business and ISFE’s chairman, was on hand at the briefing, adding that the wide report would "educate the industry as a whole".
Activision Europe boss Thibaud de Saint-Quentin was also in attendance to prove his company’s faith in the data.
MCV is this week exclusively publishing some of the topline results, which show the complicated balance between how much time is spent playing some games versus how much is spent on them – check the new print issue which starts hitting subscribers from tomorrow.