Slovakia is a small country by European standards.
It is half the size of the neighbouring Czech Republic with a population of 5.5m – and only a little more than half of its residents live in urban areas. It also has a slightly lower average living standards compared to the Czech Republic. Slovakia is, in fact, closer to Barbados.
The unemployment rate was at 13.3 per cent in July 2012, down from the 14 per cent recorded in 2010. Given the size of the population, you might not think there's a viable games market compared to larger nations, but there is a healthy level of demand in Slovakia. Total hardware and software sales were reported as a not-too-shabby €17m when it was last totted up in 2010.
A mix of online, independent and international retailers cater to Slovakian gamers. While IT retailers such as Logus and Nay take the majority of sales, familiar chains such as Tesco and Dixons-owned Elektro World are a notable presence in the region.
Most of these retailers are supplied by Czech-based distributors but Kontiki, the largest local distributor, delivers Konami games directly into Slovakia. It also sources games from other publishers via the UK.
Distributors also have another responsibility. Slovakia is one of the European nations that doesn't employ the PEGI ratings system. Instead, Slovak media law demands that games distributors mark up products themselves with the country's own age labels.
Unfortunately, the practice of grey imports is commonplace in Slovakia, particularly since the country joined the Euro in 2009. In fact, EA has even tried putting up its Slovakian trade prices to try and protect its business.
Slovakia is also home to a handful of studios creating games for a mix of consoles and online platforms. Perhaps the most notable is Cauldron, which creates the Cabela's Dangerous Hunts and Cabela's Big Game Hunt series.
A Slovakian retailer recently grabbed the headline when it reportedly sent out copies of Activision's hotly anticipated Call of Duty: Black Ops II to customers – two weeks ahead of the game's November 13th release. Pictures of the Black Ops II's Hardened Edition on PS3 began appearing online when a customer tried to sell it through a Slovakian classifieds website.
GDP (per capita): $16,726
Capital City: Bratislava
KEY RETAILERS AND DISTRIBUTORS
Brloh, Cenega, Datart, eD System, Elektro World, Enter Computer, Express Stores (GameExpres), Game-shop, Kontiki, Logus Games, Nay, Tesco
3D People, Cauldron, Cypron Studios, InLogic Software