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PC and freemium key to growth in emerging countries

Newzoo survey forecasts $4.7b spending in Russia, Brazil, Mexico this year

New data released by market analysts Newzoo indicates a bright future for PC gaming and free-to-play business models in emerging markets.

The survey covers consumer spending in Brazil, Russia and Mexico, which are forecast to generate $2 billion, $1.5 billion and $1.2 billion in sales respectively.

In Brazil, the majority of spending is generated by PC formats and freemium games: 11 per cent on social networks, 15 per cent on casual game portals, and 16 per cent on MMOs. Mobile devices will account for 9 per cent of total revenue.

Around 34 per cent of money if spent on boxed PC and console games, but the piracy and second hand sales account for a significant amount of that figure: on consoles, $61 million of the $380 million spent on boxed games and DLC is for illegal and used copies; on PC, the black and grey markets represent $48 million of $300 million spent.

According to the survey, 64 per cent of Brazil's gamers have acquired games by piracy, with 21 per cent doing so at least once a week.

"In a way Brazil is leading Western countries when it comes to the popularity of new game platforms and business models," says Newzoo CEO Peter Warman.

"Even with the current economic growth, paying more than $50 for a game is out of reach for many Brazilians. Spending smaller amounts of money on games that they have been able to try for free, seems to be exactly what the market needed to grow to its full potential."

Mexico, on the other hand, has more in common with spending habits in North America, with 69 per cent of total consumer spend on games going to console and PC or Mac games - around $825m, with $155m of that figure spent on digital purchases for PC or Mac, and $115 million spent on second-hand products.

Around 60 per cent of all consumer time is spent in online and mobile games, but social networks, online portals and mobile games only generate $85 million of spending each. Newzoo predicts significant growth in these areas as free-to-play business models become more popular.

Of the 38 million gamers in Russia, only 53 per cent actually spend money on games, and 75 per cent of the people who pay readily admit to downloading games illegally.

56 per cent of consumer spending goes to PC games and MMOs - around $830 million - with only $50 million spent in the second-hand market. Console games generate just $225 million.

Online game portals, social networks and mobile devices account for 10 percent of total spending each, but represent 48 per cent of all time invested.

"Russia is a market different from any other Western or so-called "emerging" market such as Brazil," says Warman.

"Although Russians share the passion for PC and MMO gaming with Germans, preferences and spending behaviour is different. Many Russians spend nothing or close to nothing while a very significant group spends an enormous budget on games. With half of all gamers being female, Russia also boasts a very successful casual market."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.