Regional Game Industry Profile Poland & Krakow

With almost 400 game enterprises* the Polish Game Industry marks the top of the BSR, and amongst them several large and successful companies. However, compared to the population size of Poland, the industry only yields about 10 companies per million inhabitants. At least 50 of the game enterprises are located in our focus region Małopolska (Lesser Poland). As in most other countries, much of the industry is based around the capital city of Warsaw. Other important locations are the region of Upper Silesia, Wrocław and Poznań. Despite the number of Polish game producers seemingly low compared to the whole country’s population, the existing companies are among the world’s most renowned (CD-Action (2018)). In absolute terms, the number of employees in the game industry is quite high, yet again compared to the number of inhabitants only few people work in the industry. The average firm size with regard to employees is comparatively large, on average a game studio employs 13 people. The majority of firms, however, are smaller enterprises. With regard to revenues, Poland has the third largest game industry within our focus regions, but only in absolute terms.

*The year covered is 2017.

Source: Data from Krakow Technology Park (2017), own chart

Source: Data from Krakow Technology Park (2017), own chart

Source: Own calculations

Interest/lobby associations 3
Incubators with full focus on games 1
Technical incubators that could in principle harbour game start-ups 23 (2011)
Revenue 300 m € (2016, source: Krakow Technology Park (2017) referring to the European Games Developer Federation)

Additional information

The Video games industry in Poland is currently experiencing fast growth. It is commonly acknowledged that the global success of The Witcher series gave the national industry a boost. Currently, games produced in Poland, both from the AAA and indie categories, are highly appreciated by players from around the world. They are distinguished primarily for originality (Darkwood, Ruiner), skillful combination of genres (Dying Light) and tackle ambitious difficult topics (This War of Mine, Frostpunk). Polish games have begun to be associated with high quality, which means that gamers have higher expectations towards these games and that more and more indie studios are being established in order to try to repeat these success stories.

The general economic and social climate towards creating games is positive. The Polish government considers game industry to be one of the possible competitive national strengths and an important driving force for general technological and R&D progress. It is the reason behind a number of grant schemes (such as GameINN sectoral program for co-financig) and initiatives aimed to subsidize game studios whose work does not only serve creating purely entertaining content but also brings innovation and additionally -increases focus on serious games. These days a special tax relief for video games companies is being developed. Every studio that shall include Polish and/or European cultural aspects in their games can decrease their taxes. Inspiration for this solution came to Poland from British and French tax models.

The Polish game industry has two lobby representations: Polish Games Association and Indie Games Poland Foundation.

The value of the Polish video games market in 2016 was* USD 1.85 bn*. The approximate number of game studios in the country (as of 2017) was almost 400, while the majority of them are planning to recruit more employees. One of the main issues for the industry is the lack of qualified staff caused by, among other factors, a huge competition with the general IT industry and the fact that the industry is developing so fast and new studios are being created. The educational system does not keep up with the education and training of skilled future employees. Even though there is a number of specialized courses at universities, part of them tend to be run by specialists without work experience.

These days a few Polish main game companies are among the highest positioned firms listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The high expectations for games being currently in development, such as CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077 as well as good reception of majority of games produced by Polish studios in recent times contribute to the good position of game companies on the stock market. More and more smaller companies start to be also listed on the Polish alternative stock exchange – NewConnect.

Poland hosts some of the biggest game industry events in Central Europe. Worth mentioning is Poznan Game Arena – the biggest Business-to-Customers expo – with its twin event Game Industry Conference for industry specialists and developers as well as the Digital Dragons taking place in Krakow, the capital city of BGI project’s focus region of Małopolska.

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Status: 01/2019

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