The news: The European video game market increased 22% year over year (YoY) in 2020, per Gamesindustry.biz. The total revenue for Europe's games industry was £23.3 billion ($26.57 billion), according to a report by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe and the European Games Developer Federation.
- The report showed growth across several emerging areas, chiefly streaming and social games.
More on this: The gap between mobile and console games is closing. Mobile games made up 40% of total revenues in 2020, while console games made up 44%.
- Games streaming, an emerging space in the market, only made up about 2% of total revenues but still saw significant growth. Streaming revenue grew 16.5%, rising from £341 million ($388.8 million) to £397 million ($452.7 million). But streaming may make up a larger share of the market going forward, as more major firms like Netflix announce plans to launch games streaming services.
- 50% of Europe’s population ages 6–64 plays video games. The 11–14, 15–24, and 25–34 age groups—demographics highly sought after by advertisers—have the highest shares of players. 47% of all European players are women, up two percentage points from 2019.
- Overall average time spent with video games increased almost a full hour from 8.6 hours per week in 2019 to 9.5 hours in 2020, with 76% of respondents saying they play at least 1 hour of games per week regardless of their preferred platform.
The opportunity for marketers: The growth of esports, social games, and games streaming all present opportunities for marketers to reach gaming’s younger audiences.
- Player sentiment around games is particularly high, and advertisers that find natural ways to market their products through games can piggyback off of that positive association. 49% of online multiplayer players said games have “helped me to feel happier” and “helped me to stay connected with friends” in 2020.
- As multiplayer games have grown, so too has the concept of a “metaverse,” in which games are viewed as social playgrounds that can host live events and provide space for brand partnerships. Games like Fortnite and Roblox have led this push, both recently featuring in-game concerts from stars like Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X, respectively.
- But opportunities for partnerships go beyond the music industry. On Thursday, TIME announced a partnership with Fortnite to create an interactive museum exhibit about the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Puma teased a collaboration with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
- Esports present an opportunity for marketers to partner with games in a similar fashion to how they’ve partnered with legacy sports: by sponsoring teams, equipment, and broadcasts. The cancellation of in-person events caused esports revenues to decline somewhat, though global revenues are expected to hit $1 billion in 2021. Viewership grew significantly during the pandemic despite the revenue dip, with 38 million new viewers in 2020.