Snapshot: Game Industry Profiles

The following profiles shall give a brief overview of the game industry in each of our focus regions. The size of an industry can be measured by different indicators like revenue, number of companies or employees. The number of interest/lobby associations and incubators provides at least an idea how the industry is represented and if targeted support is available. In several regions, dedicated game incubators have recently been established. However, these indicators do not allow for drawing conclusions on the success of the industry or political ambitions to promote the industry.

The analysis faced several challenges as the availability of data differs from country to country. Some countries collect relevant data at the national level only; while others provide this data for the regional level (NUTS 2). For Germany, the survey refers exclusively to the regional level, illustrating the city states Berlin and Hamburg (NUTS 2).

An accurate quantification of the size of the game industry in the Baltic Sea Region is difficult due to varying practices of counting companies on the national level. According to the data provided by the BGI project partners, one can say roughly 1,500 game industry companies exist in the region which generate revenues of about 5 billion (bn) € altogether. In comparison, the game industry of China, which is the largest one globally, generated 23 bn € in 2017 and the one of the US, which ranks second, around 21 bn €.

In absolute terms Poland and Sweden have the highest amount of companies belonging to the game industry. When relatively viewed against country size (in terms of inhabitants), Denmark has the biggest game industry. Also, regional differences within the countries became apparent. Big cities attract more game enterprises than rural areas and harbour the majority of the larger companies. This is noticeable when comparing Stockholm and the rest of Sweden, or Helsinki and the rest of Finland.
The absolute number of employees working in the game industry is by far the highest in Poland. In relative terms (per inhabitant), the game industries in Estonia and Hamburg have the biggest employment shares.

The game industry in Finland is generating the highest revenue summing up to 2.5 bn € (which is almost half of the Baltic Sea Region’s total), followed by Sweden with 1.3 bn €. The other regions only reach a few hundred million (m) €. Also, in Finland and Sweden more revenue is being generated per company and per employee than in other parts of the BSR. Both countries have established specialized incubators purely focusing on games.

The game industries of Poland and Denmark seem comparably successful, while the young game industry of the three Baltic States is still in their initial phase. Hamburg and Berlin form a special case, as they are metropolitan regions. The German game industry as a whole could be classified as rather well developed, but not as advanced as in Finland or Sweden.