In this week’s edition of Comscore Snapshots we look at the online gaming landscape in Europe. We include statistics for the EU5 region: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Our analysis covers websites and mobile apps where consumers can find information on video games and game-related news, as well as websites and mobile apps where users can play online video games.
An interesting aspect of video games is that, roughly speaking, the number of individuals who visit sites relaying video news and reviews is roughly similar to the number of individuals who visit sites where users can actually play. (See table 1 below.)
Table 1. Size of gaming audiences (million unique visitors)
Source: Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Total Audience, March 2021, EU5 countries.
It would be tempting to conclude that they are both one and the same audience. In fact, that’s not the case. In Italy for example, only half of those who visited online gaming sites also visited online information sites; and nearly 60% of those who visited online information sites also visited online gaming sites.
One interpretation is that for those who visit gaming sites but do not visit gaming information sites, information reaches them through word-of-mouth and alternative channels. Moreover, casual games on mobile devices attract audiences (candy crush gamers, say) who are unlikely to read up on it. With regards to those who visit gaming information sites but do not subsequently visit sites where they can play online, it seems likely that, at least for a proportion of them, they’ll end up playing games on devices other than computers and smartphones, such as gaming consoles.
Overall the gaming ecosystem is relatively fragmented and competitive: very few companies reach more than 5% of internet visitors, while many achieved more than 1%. What’s more, within the EU5 region, a few international companies dominate the rankings of online games-related sites (see table 2 below).
Table 2. Market competitiveness of gaming sites and apps
The demographics of online gaming sites is worth some consideration: in absolute size (i.e. in terms of the number of unique visitors) the younger consumer segments are smaller than the older consumers segments. Take the example of Spain (table 3): 3.1 million unique visitors aged 18 to 24 visited a site related to games and 5.4 million did so within the 55+ segment. However, the proportion of individuals within young consumer segments in Spain is higher: 95.6% of internet users aged 18 to 24 visited a games-related site in March 2021; only 54% did so among those aged 55+.
Yet one can also argue that 54% of consumers aged 55+ in Spain is, in fact, high; 72.9% of those aged 45-54 is very high. In part this is due to the growing diversity of video games, which cater to a broader range of demographics; it is also due to the fact that video games have been around for long enough that the generation who cut their teeth with Pac-Man or Space Invaders on Atari or in the arcades in the early 80s now represent a growing share of the market.
Table 3. Video gaming demographics in Spain.
Source: Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Total Audience, March 2021, Spain.
An analysis of video games content in the UK shows that 30% of individuals consumed content related to sports video games, by far the highest of all categories. For sponsors of large sports events in particular, this opens interesting possibilities, for example by extending the scope of their advertising. MMOs, where thousands or sometimes millions of players can play simultaneously (think World of Warcraft), and Role-play video games come second and third in the UK, respectively, a reflection of the ability of video games to provide a bit of escapism.
Table 4. Audience size by video games genre in the UK.
Source: Comscore Advanced Audiences, Total Audience, March 2021, UK.
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