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Elden Ring, Pokémon Legends: Arceus drove European sales during the first half of 2022

Germany is the biggest games market in Europe this year

76.1 million games were sold across Europe during the first six months of the year, a rise of 13.5% over the same period in 2021 (GSD Market Data).

32 million of these games were physical titles, while 44 million were sold via digital stores. The physical data covers all games sold in a box, while the digital data covers games from mainly AAA game developers (with Nintendo the notable absentee).

The biggest European market for game sales was Germany, with nearly 15.4 million games sold over the first six months of the year (sales up 13.6% compared with the same period in 2021). Followed by the UK with 14.3 million sales (up 2%), then France with 10.2 million (up 12.1%).

The market growth across Europe was driven by some major new game releases.

Elden Ring was comfortably the best-selling title of the first six months of the year. Although it must be noted that Pokémon Legends: Arceus in third-place doesn't include download sales (because Nintendo doesn't share its digital numbers). Therefore, the Switch game may have charted higher, although it has some ground to make up to trouble Elden Ring.

Nevertheless, in terms of physical sales only, Pokémon Legends was the No.1 game. Nintendo Switch games tend to skew more towards the physical retail market, compared with games sold on PlayStation, Xbox and PC.

Elden Ring was the No.1 game in the UK, whereas Pokémon Legends: Arceus was No.1 in Germany and in France

In terms of countries, things varied quite a bit. Elden Ring was the No.1 game in the UK, whereas Pokémon Legends: Arceus was No.1 in Germany and in France. Meanwhile, it was FIFA 22 that dominated the first six months in Spain and Italy.

In terms of the digital/physical split, we must discount all publishers that do not share digital data (so companies like Nintendo), and only include countries that share physical retail data. By doing that, we can see that over 68% of games sold during the first half of the year across Europe were downloaded.

In the UK, 76% of game sales were digital. In Germany, 67% of games were downloaded, while in France, 63% of sales were downloads. Please note that some of the games counted in this analysis will not have received a physical release.

Hardware market tumbles on stock shortages

Across tracked European countries, it's been a tough year for console sales, with just over 2 million machines sold across European countries (this excludes major markets of the UK and Germany). A drop of over 21% year-on-year.

This is primarily due to the lack of stock availability for PS5, with PS5 sales down nearly 44% for the first half of the year. However, Sony's console was still the second most popular across Europe.

The most popular remains Nintendo Switch, which enjoyed a sales rise of 7% over the same period the year before. Nintendo's console has not suffered the same stock shortages as Sony or Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Xbox Series S and X also enjoyed a sales improvement of 9% over the same period last year.

In terms of accessories, over 8.6 million add-on products (including controllers, headsets and toys-to-life products) were sold across Europe, a drop of 4.2% over the same period in 2021.

The best-selling accessory is the Sony PS5 DualSense Controller, with sales up 53% over the same period last year, boosted by the launch of new colour variations. The PS4 DualShock Controller is at No.2.

In terms of points cards, 10.2 million wallet top-up and subscription cards were sold across Europe, which is the same as last year. The most popular product by a large margin remains the PlayStation Store Wallet card.

European GSD H1 2022 Top 20 Games (Digital + Physical)

Position Title
1 Elden Ring (Bandai Namco)
2 FIFA 22 (EA)
3 Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Nintendo)*
4 Grand Theft Auto 5 (Rockstar)
5 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Warner Bros)
6 Horizon: Forbidden West (Sony)
7 Gran Turismo 7 (Sony)
8 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe (Nintendo)*
9 Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar)
10 Nintendo Switch Sports (Nintendo)*
11 Mario Party Superstars (Nintendo)*
12 Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Nintendo)*
13 NBA 2K22 (2K Games)
14 F1 2022 (Codemasters)
15 Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition (Nintendo)*
16 Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (Ubisoft)
17 Big Brain Academy: Brain vs Brain (Nintendo)*
18 Call of Duty: Vanguard (Activision Blizzard)
19 Far Cry 6 (Ubisoft)
20 Just Dance 2022 (Ubisoft)

* Digital data unavailable

GSD digital data includes games from participating companies sold via Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Nintendo Eshop. Major participating companies are Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Codemasters, Electronic Arts, Embracer Group (including Gearbox, Koch Media, Sabre Interactive), Focus Entertainment, Konami, Marvellous Games, Microids, Microsoft (including Bethesda), Milestone, Nacon, Paradox Interactive, Quantic Dream, Sega, Sony, Square Enix, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Nintendo and 505 Games are the notable absentees, alongside smaller studios.

Digital data includes games sold in Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE and United Kingdom.

Physical data includes all games, but only those sold in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

Console hardware sales cover Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Accessories sales cover the same markets, but doesn't include Switzerland.

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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who