Employment figures and companies
The German games industry is exhibiting a strong upward trend. Significant increases in the number of German games companies and employees in 2021 are being followed up by further growth in both figures in 2022. This positive trend in the industry is partly due to the strong overall growth in the market. At the same time, however, we are also seeing the first effects of games funding. We are not yet seeing its full impact, as the Germany-wide funding scheme has only been in place since 2019, and the development of complex computer and video games itself often takes several years. However, the improved conditions in Germany have changed the mood in the industry, leading to a strong increase in the number of companies. There are currently approximately 786 companies in Germany that are involved in the development and marketing of computer and video games or are active in one of these two areas. This is about 5 per cent more than in 2021 and represents an increase of approximately 26 per cent in the number of games companies in Germany within the last two years. A majority of these companies (392, down by 3 per cent) are active in both development and publishing. 358 games studios focus solely on the development of games for PCs, video game consoles and mobile devices. The number of these companies increased significantly, rising by 14 per cent compared to the previous year. The number of companies active solely as publishers is significantly lower, with just 36 such companies in Germany (up by 13 per cent).
The positive trend in the number of employees has also continued, as the previous year’s 8 per cent growth has been followed up by approximately 3 per cent growth in the core market. This brings the total number of people employed in the development and marketing of games in Germany to 11,242. Differences in the growth rates underscore the degree to which the establishment of numerous smaller companies is driving the current growth trend in the German games industry: the number of employees has increased by about 12 per cent over the past two years, whilst the number of games companies grew by 26 per cent during this same time span. Following a decline in the previous year, the games industry’s extended labour market also recovered somewhat: the estimated number of people employed here increased by nearly 6 per cent to 17,048. This extended labour market includes people employed by service providers, retailers, educational establishments, the media and the public sector in connection with the games industry. In total, the German games industry currently secures more than 28,000 jobs.
However, a look at current employment figures also indicates how much potential for growth Germany still offers. Canada, for instance, has only half the population of Germany and has been providing significant funding to its domestic games industry for several years – the Canadian games industry employs about 32,300 people, or nearly three times as many as the sector in Germany2. If these numbers are extrapolated to apply to Germany, they indicate up to 60,000 potential jobs in the core labour market of the German games industry. Likewise, the United Kingdom, which has approximately 15 million fewer residents than Germany, has nearly twice as many people (about 20,870) working in computer and video game development and distribution.
Despite these positive developments in the number of games companies and employees in the industry in Germany, the country remains less competitive as a location for the games industry in relative terms. On the whole, the German games industry lags behind in international competitiveness; games companies rate it as rather poor. 56 per cent of companies say that Germany’s global competitiveness is ‘rather poor’, and 14 per cent even rate it as ‘poor’. 31 per cent considered it ‘rather good’. None of the companies surveyed for game’s industry barometer 2021 rated the German games industry’s competitiveness as ‘very good’.
The most positively rated aspect of the current situation was games funding. Here, it can be seen that the current federal government’s efforts are beginning to pay off now that the Germany-wide funding scheme providing more than 50 million euros per year has launched. Training for young professionals was also rated as rather good overall. A contributing factor here is that the number of study programmes in the field of games has increased at both public and private universities in recent years. The games industry in Germany sees digital education and internet infrastructure as the areas where the country needs to improve most.