Despite strong market growth, employee number in German games industry drops

Despite strong market growth, employee number in German games industry drops


  • Game developers and publishers employ 11,014 people in Germany
  • 614 companies in Germany develop and distribute games
  • German games market grows by 9 per cent

Berlin, 7 August 2019 – A decline in employment figures and a rise in the number of small companies: this is how game – the German Games Industry Association sums up the recent development of the games industry in Germany. The number of people employed by companies that develop and distribute games in Germany dropped by 5.9 per cent last year, to 11,014. In the games industry’s extended labour market, which includes service providers, retailers and the media, among other categories, the decline was not as sharp: here, the number of employees fell by 1.2 per cent. Consequently, the games industry in Germany continues to provide nearly 30,000 jobs.

In contrast, the number of companies in the industry showed a remarkable rise in 2018, from 524 to 614. In particular, small game developer start-ups, which generally have fewer than five employees, drove this strong growth. It is also notable that the classic distribution of roles between game developers and publishers is an ever smaller factor: in one year, the number of companies that both develop and publish games increased from 118 to 272. The trend towards distribution via download platforms and app stores has played a decisive part in driving this development.
Felix Falk, Managing Director of game, says: ‘The further decline in the employment numbers shows how great the economic pressure on games companies in Germany is. Although the market once again grew significantly, there was an overall loss of jobs. The reason for this is that few of the games played in Germany are also developed here. To stop this trend, we need a long-term strategy. The introduction of federal funding for the games industry is the central component in this. The fact that this funding is missing from the government’s 2020 federal budget draft has caused great uncertainty, and the resulting planning insecurity is a growth inhibitor for games companies of all sizes. At the same time, the increased number of companies is grounds for confidence. There is still no shortage of will or courage to found games companies in Germany, despite the difficult underlying conditions. It is essential that we tap this country’s potential as a digital and cultural location. Otherwise, the development of the leading medium of the 21st century will take place largely without German involvement.’

German games market grows by 9 per cent

The decrease in the numbers of employees is all the more notable considering the strong market growth. As previously announced by game, the games market in Germany grew by 9 per cent in 2018, to around 4.4 billion euros. The largest growth driver was online service fees, sales of which almost doubled within a year to 353 million euros (+97 per cent). The market segment of in-game purchases, which includes in-app purchases, likewise contributed greatly to the growth, increasing by 28 per cent to 1.9 billion euros.

About the market data

The data used is based on surveys conducted by the GfK Consumer Panel, GfK Entertainment and GfK POS Measurement. The methods used by GfK to collect data on Germany’s digital 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 digital 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 leading location for game development.

Press contact:

Martin Puppe
game – the German Games Industry Association
Friedrichstraße 165
10117 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0)30 2408779-20
Twitter: @game_verband
Instagram: game_verband

Martin Puppe
+49 30 240 87 79 20