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Online gaming services are becoming an ever more important pillar of the German games market. They allow video game players worldwide to compete online against one another, access cloud gaming offerings or use a large catalogue of games for a fixed monthly price. The last several years have seen significant growth not only in the variety of online gaming services, but also in players’ interest in them. In Germany, sales revenue of these services increased by 50 per cent in a single year, to 692 million euros. This value is nearly double that of 2018, when 353 million euros in sales were achieved with online gaming services. These are the numbers released today by game – the German Games Industry Association, based on data collected by the market research company GfK. Cloud gaming services showed the strongest rise in sales revenue: within just one year, this segment grew by 67 per cent, to 72 million euros. With cloud gaming services, players no longer need high-performance hardware to play titles with their full range of graphics. But because the computing takes place in the cloud, a correspondingly fast internet connection is required. Among the services in this category are GeForce Now from Nvidia, MagentaGaming from Telekom, PlayStation Now from Sony and Stadia Pro from Google. While sales revenue with online gaming services grew somewhat more slowly, at 50 per cent, this submarket is already considerably larger: 439 million euros in sales revenue were achieved in 2020 through services of this kind, such as Nintendo Switch Online, PlayStation Plus from Sony and Xbox Live Gold from Microsoft. In addition to game rebates and the saving of scores on the internet, these services also allow customers to play online via games consoles. Significantly more was also spent on subscription gaming services in 2020: this submarket grew by 44 per cent to a total value of 181 million euros. For a fixed monthly price, services like EA Play, the Xbox Game Pass from Microsoft, Ubisoft+ and the two versions for smartphone, Apple Arcade and the Google Play Pass, offer access to an extensive games library.

‘Online gaming services have developed into an important pillar of the games market within just a few years,’ says Felix Falk, Managing Director of game. ‘The number and variety of services have gone up sharply, as has demand on the part of video game players. And there are a number of different factors that promise strong continued growth in the coming years. One of these is the rising interest in cloud gaming, which is still in an early market phase. Another is the increasing success of subscription gaming services, which give players access to a large selection of titles for a fixed monthly rate.’

 

German games market: big jump in sales revenue in 2020

The German games market recorded a strong jump in sales revenue in the Covid-19 year 2020: total sales revenue of around 8.5 billion euros was achieved in computer and video games and associated hardware, as already reported by game. This is an increase of 32 per cent compared to the previous year. Sales of more than 3.2 billion euros were registered with games consoles, gaming PCs and the corresponding peripheral equipment – an increase of 26 per cent over 2019. The submarket for computer and video games showed even stronger growth, with purchases of games, in-game and in-app purchases, subscriptions and charges for online services climbing to 5.2 billion euros, an impressive 36 per cent rise compared to the previous year.

 

About the market data

The market data is based on statistics compiled by the GfK Consumer Panel. 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.