In a document which revels in shattering stereotypes, there’s some incredible news for the industry’s money men: the European Union is now the second-largest videogaming territory in the world, generating €7.3bn during 2007, compared with €7.4bn in Asia and €6.9bn in the US. This also reflects in the year on figures with UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia enjoying an average 25% growth in software sales.
Videogamers are growing up, too, with the UK boasting the most mature players. The average age of an gamer in the UK is now 33 – the highest out of the territories surveyed. In Finland they are, on average 30 while in Spain they are 26.
British parents are also regularly grabbing controllers to play games. Some 42 per cent of games players have children compared to 31 per cent in Finland and 23 per cent in Spain. Across Europe 81 per cent of parents say they enjoy playing games with their children. More than half of Europe’s gaming parents monitor what their children are playing and 59 per cent keep a close eye on what games their children are playing.
Video games lead the way when it comes to other forms of entertainment. Of those polled a staggering 72 per cent see gaming as “a fun way to spend time”, compared to cinema’s and tv’s 68 per cent. Some 57 per cent revealed that gaming “stimulates your imagination” (compared with 48 per cent for movies and 35 per cent for watching television) and 42 per cent of respondents stated that gaming keeps you fit mentally, compared with 25 per cent for movies, and 26 per cent for watching TV.
The research also revealed that 93 per cent of Europeans recognise the PEGI age rating labels, illustrating the success of the industry’s self-regulating classification system.
“This research confirms what the industry has realised for a long time: gaming is now enjoyed by an incredibly diverse audience,” says Michael Rawlinson of the UK#s games publishers’ body ELSPA. “And the UK is a particularly mature market – we have the oldest, most passionate gamers across Europe. The fact that gamers are growing up and enjoying gaming with their children illustrates the enduring nature of the medium. It’s fair to say that, compared to other forms of entertainment, games are doing well.”
In conducting its Video Gamers In Europe 2008 report Nielsen surveyed 6000 active gamers, aged 16-49, across 15 countries– the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia.