• In 2016 revenues from virtual goods and additional content rose by 17 per cent
• Free-to-play games are a key driver on the games market
• Strong revenue growth in the field of game apps
Berlin, 27 June 2017 – The German market for free-to-play games is booming. Within just a few years, titles that can be played for free have become an important pillar of the German games market. In these games, gamers pay to unlock extra levels or personalise their character, for instance. In 2016, double-digit growth in the sale of such virtual goods and additional content for games on PCs, consoles, smartphones and tablets was achieved: the market segment grew by 17 per cent to a total of 659 million euros within a year. In 2015, revenues in this segment stood at 562 million euros. The BIU, the German Games Industry Association, published these figures today based on data compiled by market research institute GfK. Even if only a small group of free-to-play users continues to spend money on additional content, the growing number of players is one of the main reasons for the revenue growth: whilst 3.3 million people in Germany spent money on virtual goods and additional content in 2015, 3.9 million did so in 2016. The average monthly expenditure per paying user also rose slightly: from 12.02 euros in 2015 to 13.57 euros in 2016, remaining at the level of a visit to the cinema.
‘Free-to-play games are a real model for success and a key innovation, the like of which we’ve not seen in any other media sector,’ says BIU Managing Director Felix Falk. ‘The fact that these games can be played free of charge invites people to try them out and explore. Titles like these need to draw players in if they are to succeed in the long term. That’s why free-to-play games are not only extremely customer-friendly, but also successful. Within just a few years this segment has developed into a key pillar for the whole games market.’
Market for game apps grows by 30 per cent in 2016
Free-to-play games are available for all gaming platforms: from PCs through mobile devices up to games consoles. They are especially successful on smartphones and tablets. In that sector, free-to-play games make up around 96 per cent of the revenue from game apps in Germany. In 2016, consumers spent 392 million euros on games of this type. Overall, the German market for game apps grew by 30 per cent to 409 million euros last year.
Alongside game apps for mobile devices, some of the most successful e-sports titles have taken advantage of the free-to-play principle: highly successful games such as ‘Dota 2’ (Valve), ‘League of Legends’ (Riot Games) and ‘World of Tanks’ (Wargaming) can be played completely free of charge. Gamers merely pay for virtual goods and additional digital content, for example equipment, clothing or in-game currency. However, the purchase of additional content doesn’t affect the competitive mechanics of the e-sports titles.
For further information on the German market for game apps, see: https://www.game.de/blog/2017/04/12/markt-fuer-spiele-apps-waechst-2016-um-30-prozent/
For further information on the overall German market for computer and video games, see: https://www.game.de/blog/2017/04/04/starke-nachfrage-nach-computer-und-videospielen-umsatz-waechst-um-7-prozent/
The BIU published the earnings of the German market for game apps and the overall German market for computer and video games in April 2017 as a press release.
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 consumer panel. The data collection methods provide a unique insight into the German market for computer and video games.
About the BIU
The BIU, the German Games Industry Association, is the association of the German computer and video games industry. Its 28 members are developers, publishers and suppliers of digital games. Together, they represent over 85 per cent of the German market. The BIU is, for example, the organiser 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.
Phone: +49 (0)30 2408779-20
Fax: +49 (0)30 2408 77911