- Market for virtual products and extra content grows 18 per cent to 562 million euros
- ‘Free-to-play games are as successful with occasional gamers as in the eSports sector’
- German market for computer and video games grows to 2.81 billion euros
Berlin, 18 May 2016 – Alongside sales of individual titles, another successful business model has become firmly established on the market for computer and video games in recent years: free-to-play games have become a significant pillar of the games market. In these games, players spend money only to unlock extra levels, to personalise their character or for other additional content. The market for these virtual products and extra content, paid for via microtransactions, passed half a billion euros in Germany for the first time last year. Microtransactions generated sales revenue of 562 million euros, which is around 18 per cent more than in 2014, when sales of virtual products and additional content accounted for 477 million euros. These are the figures published today by the BIU, the German Games Industry Association, based on information compiled by market research company GfK.
‘In a world of digitised media, business models are another area in which games are taking on a pioneering role. Free-to-play games, in which players spend money only for extra content, have become firmly established as a significant pillar of the games market in the space of just a few years,’ says BIU Managing Director Dr Maximilian Schenk, summarising the development.
“Years of strong sales growth for virtual products and extra content show how happy gamers are with free-to-play games.‘Years of strong sales growth for virtual products and extra content show how happy gamers are with free-to-play games.’
Dr. Maximilian Schenk, Managing Director of BIU
Free-to-play games firmly established on all platforms
Free-to-play games are now found on all game platforms: from PC and mobile devices to consoles. They are particularly successful on smartphones and tablets. Of the 315 million euros generated by game apps in Germany in 2015, 295 million euros came from sales of virtual products and extra content. This equates to around 94 per cent. The reason for this is that free-to-play apps are a perfect match for the convenience of smartphones and tablets. They are easy to download and can be used straight away without incurring any costs. Even some of the most successful eSports titles on the PC are using the free-to-play principle. Titles like Dota 2 (Valve), League of Legends (Riot Games) and World of Tanks (Wargaming), which are very successful globally, can be played completely free of charge. With these games, players spend money only if they want their character to look different or want to choose a particular character. The fairness of the business model can be seen in the fact that the competitive mechanisms of these eSports titles are not influenced by sales of virtual products and extra content. Maximilian Schenk: ‘Free-to-play games are as successful with occasional gamers using smartphones and tablets as they are in the eSports sector. At a time when there is an oversupply of entertainment media on a wide range of online platforms, free-to-play games are a smart way of lowering entry barriers and inspiring more people to enter the world of games.’
Note on market data:
The data used is based on statistics compiled by the GfK Consumer Panel and GfK Entertainment. The methods used by GfK to collect data on Germany’s digital games market are unique in terms both of 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, and also a consumer panel. The data collection methods provide a unique insight into the German market for computer and video games.
About the BIU
BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware (German Games Industry Association) is the association of the German computer and video games industry. Its 26 members are developers, publishers and providers of digital games, and they represent over 85 per cent of the German market. The BIU is, for example, the sponsor of gamescom. As an expert partner for media and for political and social institutions, the BIU answers all questions on the topic of digital games.
BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware e. V.
Tel.: +49 (0)30 2408779 20
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