The Spanish video game sector consolidates its studies, although it continues to be led by SMEs

MADRID, May 4. (Portaltic/EP) –

The Spanish video game sector shows a slight consolidation of its development studies both in longevity and stability, but small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) continue to be the majority, with 50 percent of them having less than five employees.

The ‘White Paper on Spanish Video Game Development 2021’ is presented after two years of a pandemic that have encouraged the time spent on video games, but have also had a negative impact on the arrival of new titles on the market and the availability of gaming equipment.

This yearbook reviews the situation of the industry in the country and globally, by the Spanish Video Game Development (DEV), and has the support of ICEX Spain Export and Investment and Games from Spain.

Within this framework, the global video game market contracted by 1.1 percent compared to the previous year, reaching a turnover of just over 175,000 million dollars, of which 52 percent correspond to the mobile game industry (45%) and tablets (7%), while the remaining 48 percent were split between console (28%), PC (19%) and browser (1%) games.

By region, the markets that have traditionally had less weight have experienced a visible growth in their turnover, as is the case of Latin America (+5.1%) or Africa and the Middle East (+4.8%%). Contrasts the decrease in more consolidated markets, such as North America, where turnover has fallen by 7.2 percent compared to the previous year, or Europe (-5.6%). In the case of Asia-Pacific, this region has grown slightly, 3 percent.


The year 2021 has been an “interesting” year for the Spanish video game sector, as highlighted in the presentation of the White Paper, and this in terms of launches and announcements of projects in development or acquisitions.

This is the case, for example, of the announcement of the development of a new Metroid in Spain by MercurySteam, and the appearance of independent titles such as Treasures of the Aegean, The Longest Road on Earth or a new Alex Kidd, also developed here.

In terms of acquisitions, one of the most notable has been the purchase of Digital Legends by Activision, a move that will allow the Barcelona studio to work on mobile versions of Call of Duty. Also in the last twelve months, Thunderful acquired Stage Clear for 2.9 million and 2K with the Valencian Turia Games and elite3d.

UnusuAll managed to attract the attention of Garena, the Asian publisher behind Free Fire, which has invested three million euros in the studio, while the Sevillian Axes in Motion, specialized in mobile games, distributed nine million euros of dividends in 2020 and 2021.

These news are an example of what 2021 has left and that is included in the DEV yearbook, which highlights the growth of the sector, both in number of studies and projects underway. Regarding the studies constituted with tax identification (NIF), there is a slight increase to 585, compared to 555 in 2020, with 435 of them working on an active project.

Active studies, with or without NIF, amount to 755, when the previous year 655 were registered. Of them, 320 are not constituted with fiscal identification.

The territorial distribution of active studios shows a certain distribution, since, although the majority (27.4%) meet in Catalonia, there is also a large presence in Madrid (24.1%), Andalusia (14.7%) or Valencia (9.6%).

On the other hand, 60 percent of the Spanish studies already established are more than five years old (24% between five and ten years), while only 11 percent are less than two years old. These data show “a slight change in trend towards greater longevity and stability”, as the journalist and writer Jaume Esteve highlighted during the presentation.

At the billing level, it is estimated that Spanish studios billed 1,105 million euros in 2020, an increase of 20 percent compared to the 920 million the previous year. If this aggregate growth rate of 20 percent is maintained, it is expected that the Spanish production industry will be on the verge of billing 2,300 million in 2024.

Catalonia continues to be the engine of the Spanish video game; Only in this region is 50 percent of the turnover concentrated, followed by Madrid, which accounts for 28 percent. Both communities concentrate more than three out of every four euros that local studios earn.

The study also shows that the Spanish video game continues to have a large number of studios whose revenues do not exceed 200,000 euros per year (63%), compared to 1 percent that has a turnover of more than 50 million.

If billing is reviewed according to the size of the companies, despite the large number of companies that bill less than 200,000 euros, these only represent 2 percent of the billing of the entire sector. Almost two-thirds of revenue comes from studios whose turnover ranges between 10 and 50 million (36%) and those with more than 50 million (28%)

Most studios have fewer than five employees, and they make up 50 percent. 94 percent have staff of less than 50 workers, while only 6 percent employ more than 50 people.

They are based on a mainly digital business model, since it continues to be the main way of invoicing (close to 64%), despite the slight decline experienced by digital sales. Physical sales also fell one point (3%) and somewhat development for third parties (20%) at the expense of other activities such as the sale of services (5%), which have grown compared to the previous year.

The Spanish video game directly employed some 8,026 people in 2020, which represented a growth of 9.6 percent compared to 2019. Of these, 73 percent had an indefinite contract. This ascending line is expected to continue for the next few years with aggregate growth of 8.5 percent until 2024, when the sector is expected to employ more than 11,000 workers.

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