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Whether a quick round of a puzzle game, an interactive quiz against players around the world or even strategic team games in a league structure: game apps are appealing to more and more people. The easy accessibility and growing variety of titles is resulting in a steady increase in the number of players, and sales revenue is showing considerable growth every year. The market for game apps posted strong growth again in 2020. In Germany, within a single year, the sales revenue for games designed for smartphones and tablets increased by 23 per cent to roughly 2.3 billion euros. This represented a continuation of the impressive growth exhibited in the market for game apps in the previous years: sales revenue grew by 22 per cent in 2019, and by a remarkable 31 per cent the year before. These are the figures released today by game – the German Games Industry Association, based on data collected by the market research company App Annie. The year 2020 saw the continuation of another positive trend from the previous years: the market growth is directly attributable to in-app purchases. Sales revenue from such purchases grew by 24 per cent to about 2.3 billion euros. Free-to-play games, especially, relied on in-game purchases. These are titles that can be downloaded and played free of charge. Players can opt to spend money for additional content, such as personalising their own avatar in a game. Free-to-play games are particularly successful on smartphones and tablets. The market segment for game apps available for purchase, in contrast, declined again. In 2020, sales revenue for such titles dropped by 15 per cent down to roughly 11 million euros. Another trend also continued in 2020: the average age of smartphone game players increased by 1.4 years within a single year, from 37.4 to 38.8 – representing a clear increase in average age. At 52 per cent, just over half of these mobile games players are women.

‘Mobile games are becoming increasingly popular in Germany. Not only did the rising number of players contribute to this renewed strong market growth, but also the growing variety of titles. While app stores, in their early years, primarily featured casual games for playing from time to time, they have since exhibited an increase in the number of more complex games available. If we take a look at Asia, we see the direction one of the developments is taking: mobile games are increasingly being played competitively – in leagues and in tournaments – thus becoming a category of esports,’ says Felix Falk, Managing Director of game.

German games market: major surge in sales revenue in 2020

The German games market recorded a considerable surge in sales revenue in the Covid-19 year 2020. Computer and video games and the related hardware generated a combined sales revenue of about 8.5 billion euros, as already reported by game. This is an increase of 32 per cent compared to the previous year. Games consoles, gaming PCs and peripherals accounted for roughly 3.2 billion euros in sales revenue. This is an increase of 26 per cent compared to 2019. The submarket for computer and video games saw even stronger growth, with revenues of 5.2 billion euros achieved through game purchases, in-game and in-app purchases, subscriptions and charges for online services. As a result, this part of the market managed to grow by 36 per cent compared to the previous year.

About the market data

The market data is based on statistics compiled by the GfK Consumer Panel and App Annie. The methods used by GfK to collect data on Germany’s video games market are unique in terms of both their quality and their global use. They include an ongoing survey of 25,000 consumers who are representative of the German population as a whole regarding their video game purchasing and usage habits, as well as a retail panel. The data collection methods provide a unique insight into the German market for computer and video games.

 

game – the German Games Industry Association

We are the association of the German games industry. Our members include developers, publishers and many other games industry actors such as esports event organisers, educational establishments and service providers. As a joint organiser of gamescom, we are responsible for the world’s biggest event for computer and video games. We are an expert partner for media and for political and social institutions, and answer questions relating to market development, games culture and media literacy. Our mission is to make Germany the best games location.

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