Europe is the world's largest potential market for the videogame industry, but it's also the least mature according to Forbes.com.
The business site referred to market research from IDG showing that the European market generated USD 17.9 billion in revenues in 2007 - less than the USD 18.8 billion in revenues generated by the US - despite having more than twice the population.
The Forbes article claims that videogames aren't as widely accepted in Europe as they are in the States, and that the worldwide development community has focused on capturing the hardcore US gamers - paying less attention to European players who prefer short, so-called casual games.
Games with "guns and gore" don't sell as well in Europe because casual games fit the European lifestyle better - people can play short games on trains and subways on their way to work rather than spending hours at a stretch at a console to play long, epic tales.
Since Europeans tend to be casual gamers, older versions of consoles sell well there - the PS2 grabbed a 47 per cent market share in Europe in 2007, with the Nintendo DS in second place with a 25 per cent market share. The Nintendo Wii, however, had only a 7 per cent share; the Xbox 360 had 5 per cent.
Not surprisingly, then, current-gen console games that sell briskly in the US didn't do nearly as well across the pond. Only 900,000 copies of Halo 3 were sold in Europe, for example, compared with 4.8 million in the US. Sales of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in the US trebled European sales.
According to IDG - looking at sales in the UK, France and Germany - the following titles were the best-selling games in Europe for 2007:
- 1 Brain Training
- 2 FIFA 2008
- 3 Wii Play
- 4 Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
- 5 New Super Mario Bros
- 6 Need for Speed: Pro Street
- 7 Assassin's Creed
- 8 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- 9 Big Brain Academy
- 10 The Simpsons Game