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Europe "definitely not maturing at all yet" - EA

Jens Uwe Intat points to huge potential for growth still in Russia and Germany

Europe as a videogames market still has huge potential for growth, and "is definitely not maturing at all yet," according to Electronic Arts' VP of publishing for the territory, Dr Jens Uwe Intat.

He's instead confident that the region should continue to grow until it's bigger than North America, and that countries like Russia - and even Germany - still have plenty of potential in them.

"I think that Europe is definitely not maturing at all yet," he told "We think it's not just an interim driven by exchange rate, although that has exaggerated it. But we think it's a trend that we'll also see in the future, and if you look at the size of the population in Europe as compared to North America, it should be a bigger market here eventually.

"If you look at territories in particular like Russia and Germany, we have a lot of potential to catch up still. The UK market is probably - in terms of potential compared to size - comparable to North America if you look at installed base per household, and if you look at per capita consumption it's actually slightly stronger.

"But if you look at territories like Germany, with 80 million people compared to 60 million in the UK, the market is still much smaller, so there's still a lot of catching up to do. And then there are markets that are still fairly small, like Russia, which is worth about USD 250 million right now. If you take that population, and the speed with which the Russian economy is growing, there's a huge potential."

Intat explained that EA is dedicating specific resources to tap into those markets, and believes that Russia in particular is on the cusp of becoming significant in the gaming sector.

"If we look at Russia, we put a local team there last year, we opened an office in Moscow," he said. "We go direct to our biggest customers, we do advertising with local people there... So we are putting a lot of effort into capturing a market of that size, because we see that it's at the tipping point of going mass market."

And while the Russian market is dominated by PC software at the moment, Intat also feels that EA's efforts in localising its titles for the country could help to sell more consoles there.

"What we're doing, on top of going direct to retail and doing local advertising, is that we localise the products - which we think at the end of the day is the biggest lever for people to buy hardware," he explained.

"You don't buy a PlayStation 3 to sit at home just because it looks so nice. You want some good games with local content, and we think we'll actually be able to move more and more people into the console market in Russia."

Meanwhile work continues on the localisation for one of EA's PC online flagship titles - Warhammer Online - for Russia, and Intat believes it's got a good chance of success, following World of Warcraft's recent Russian version having been launched there.

"We will actually have a localised version of Warhammer Online for Russia - in Spring I think we're going to launch that," he revealed. "It will be a little bit later than in the rest of Europe, but we definitely will have a localised version because we see exactly that trend in Russia - they love MMOs, but they love the localised version. We'll definitely address that."

The full interview with Dr Jens Uwe Intat is available now.

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