Berlin, 25 February 2013. In the business year 2012 the German games industry sold a total of 73.7 million computer and video games. This represents a four percent increase on the previous year. For the last three years in a row the German games industry has been steadily selling more games. The games sector overall had total revenues of 1.851 billion in 2012 (previous year: 1.989 billion), as revealed today by BIU, the German Trade Association of Interactive Entertainment Software. These figures are based on a survey of 25,000 Germans carried out by the market research institute GfK, which covered all segments of the games market, i.e. games for PC, consoles, handhelds and mobile games as well as online and browser games and the purchases of virtual Item-Selling.
Dr. Maximilian Schenk, Managing Director of BIU: In 2012 the industry sold more games than ever before. We can be satisfied with the result for 2012, even though revenues do not entirely reflect the record number of games sold. Christmas sales in 2012 have only partially met our expectations, and the launch of important blockbuster titles has been postponed to 2013. The positive turnover figures, though, clearly indicate the importance of games as a leading medium of digital culture. In comparison to other international markets, the German market continues to be stable, since it relies equally on all business models, products and additional services.
For this year we expect a positive development in the market. Several new games and innovative hardware that will hit the market in 2013 will provide positive impulses. The launch of the Sony PlayStation 4, which was announced last week, with its strong line-up of games to be ready by the time the console is released, will surely send a strong signal as well as the triple A titles, which as announced will appear later this year, for the Wii U launched by Nintendo in 2012, continued Dr. Schenk.
Sales of physical games and downloads: consoles continue to be the most important source of revenue on the German market / increasing revenues on the PC market.
In 2012 sales of physical games (PC, consoles, handhelds and mobile) and by download were 1,501 billion (previous year: 1.574 billion).
The PC was an important growth factor in 2012 for sales of digital games in Germany. In comparison to 201,1 the number of PC games sold in 2012 remained at approximately the same level (2011: 24.6 million / 2012: 24.7 million), while revenues from digital games for PC rose from 445 million to 464 million. Software for consoles continues to be the most important pillar of the German market. Digital games for consoles generated revenues of 819 million (previous year: 889 million) in 2012. Overall 23.1 million games for consoles were sold in 2012 (2011: 24.8 million). This decline was to be expected considering the number of years that the present generation of consoles has been on the market. As in 2011, the market for mobile games is experiencing a very dynamic growth. The number of games sold has risen from 13 million in 2011 to 19.2 million in 2012. Revenues from mobile games have risen as well, from 28 to 38 million in the relevant period. In the handhelds market the number of games sold declined from 8.5 million (2011) to 6.7 million (2012), as did revenue: from 212 (2011) to 180 million (2012).
The digital distribution of games, that is the purchase of digital games through download, is becoming increasingly important. In 2012 62 percent of all digital games were sold through physical retail and 38 percent via download (2011: 74 to 26 percent). In money terms, sales from physical retail still make up the bulk of revenues (89 percent as compared to 11 percent from downloads; in 2011 the proportion was 94 to 6 percent).
Usage of online and browser games as well as Micropayment: a growing number of consumer purchase items
In 2012 annual sales of online-subscriptions, premium accounts plus microtransactions totalled 350 million (2011: total 416 million). The changes for online and browser games and Micropayment continue in 2012. Consumers are in many ways reorienting themselves in the way they use games software. The business model of item selling is steadily gaining a bigger share of the market: 2012 revenues from Microtransactions were 65 percent of those from browser and online games (56 percent in the year 2011). In particular, the number of consumers willing to pay for downloadable content increased by 27 percent (2012: 4.68 million / 2011: 3.67 million). This produced revenues of 226 million (2011: 233 million) in the item selling segment, while sales of online subscriptions and premium accounts were 124 million (2011: 183 million).
Background information on the composition of the German games market
The overall market for digital games is composed of two submarkets: one for online and browser games (with the business models based on item selling and subscription fees) and the other for sales of digital games, either boxed or by download the latter representing about 81 percent of total revenues.
The business model of item selling allows users to purchase additional virtual content for games, such as additional equipment, while the game itself can be enjoyed for free or for a relatively small sum.
The business model based on subscription fees is used for digital games that are usually free or have a very low purchase price but are financed by monthly fees. These games are played exclusively online.
The German Trade Associationof Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU) is the interest group for suppliers and producers of entertainment software in Germany. It organizes the interests of the relevant companies in the field of interactive entertainment. As a competent partner for media as well as political and social institutions, BIU answers all questions on subjects relating to computer and video games.
BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware e.V.