Newzoo reported that there is expected to be a 3 percent increase in consumer spending on games in Western Europe compared to 2011, higher if markets such as Russia and Poland are included, compared to 1 percent in the U.S. Growth in consumer spending in Europe and the U.S. is expected to pick up in 2013. An early indication of that trend is how the number of paying gamers has grown 17 percent in Western Europe and 36 percent in the US over the last year.
“In brief, digital distributed content, online, smartphone and tablet games make up for the decline of boxed retail sales,” writes Peter Warman, CEO Newzoo. “Since the uptake of tablets and smartphones as gaming devices, consumers now have four typical screens to access their entertainment. Consumers are spreading their budget across these screens putting pressure on individual game revenues and making it a necessity for game companies to offer games across all screens. The PC still grosses most time and money, but already 22 percent of American and 21 percent of European gamers are using all four screens.”
The share of paying gamers has risen to 59 percent in Western Europe, 55 percent in the U.S. and while social network gaming market is down 7 percent in the U.S. there is still growth in Europe, particularly Germany. Germany also has the highest growth in money spent on online “casual” game portals while Spain is the fastest growing MMO market in Western Europe. The U.K. is the best in Europe for mobile game spending, in absolute figures and in growth.
Meanwhile, traditional game spending is not so rosy with console game spending flat in most countries, though Spain and Italy show double digit growth. PC Boxed sales are down in every country, most noticeably in Italy, Spain, France and Germany and PC Download games spending is down in most countries except Germany and Italy.