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Head of Games B2B
Thursday 27th January 2022
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Interactive Software Federation of Europe
Over 170 million games, seven million games consoles and 19 million accessories were sold across Europe, according to the latest data from GSD.
The 170 million games, which covers physical and digital games, is a drop of 9.5% the year before (data includes all retail games and digital games sold by most major AAA publishers, see full list below).
2020 was a notable year due to the COVID-19 lockdowns boosting software sales. If we compare the data to 2019 instead, the software market is up 12.3%. It also should be noted that there were 53 tracked weeks in 2020, vs 52 weeks in 2021.
FIFA 22 was the biggest video game across Europe last year, selling almost double second place. EA’s hit football game is 17% up over the previous year’s title, FIFA 21 (for the comparable period).
Remarkably, the ageing Grand Theft Auto 5 was the second biggest game of 2021, although sales are down just under 20% compared with 2020. Expect the title to stick around in the 2022 charts, especially with PS5 and Xbox Series X and S versions due to launch this year.
After FIFA 22, the best-selling new release of the year was Call of Duty: Vanguard at No.4, which is 34% down over the previous year’s Call of Duty.
Mario Kart 8: Deluxe is at No.5 last year, which is up five places over 2020, but sales are down slightly by 9%, which reflects a slight dip in Nintendo Switch sales year-on-year.
2020 had bigger new releases than in 2021. Big sellers in 2020, outside of FIFA and Call of Duty, included Animal Crossing: New Horizons and The Last of Us: Part 2. In 2021, the only other new release in the Top Ten (after FIFA and Call of Duty) was Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury on Nintendo Switch at No.7.
However, if we combine the sales of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, those games would have made the Top Ten (at No.5) It’s worth noting they may have charted higher, but Nintendo does not share digital data currently.
Overall, games released in 2021 only accounted for 29% of all games sold across Europe last year. This matches 2020, although during that year legacy games sold particularly well due to a surge in sales during the first COVID-19 lockdowns.
One of the big surprise hits of the year was F1 2021. The racing season was a dramatic one, with UK driver Lewis Hamilton going head-to-head with Dutch-Belgium driver Max Verstappen. The game was big hit in the UK (No.8 best-selling game) and Netherlands (No.2 best-selling game) as a result.
SWITCH IS NO.1 AS STOCK SHORTAGES KEEP PS5 AND XBOX AT BAY
7.1 million games consoles were sold across Europe, which is 20% more than in 2020 (data does not include UK and Germany, see full details at the bottom of the article).
Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console across Europe last year, and sales dropped just 6% over 2020, which was a notable year for the release of Animal Crossing and the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Switch declined in most European markets, but not all. Switch sales actually grew in Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden.
The second biggest selling console was PS5, which was a comfortable No.2, ahead of Xbox Series X and S at No.3. Both PS5 and Xbox Series X suffered from severe stock shortages throughout 2021, and both would have sold considerably more if there was availability.
CONSOLE CONTROLLERS BOOST ACCESSORIES SALES
20.2 million accessories were sold across the European markets last year, a rise of 5.4% over the year before.
The biggest selling product was the PS5 DualSense Controller, which was comfortably ahead the PS4 DualShock 4 at No.2. No.3 belonged the Switch Joy-Cons, just ahead of the Xbox Series wireless controller.
In terms of points cards, 16.1 million cards were sold last year, down 16% over the year before. The PlayStation Store Top-Up card was by far the biggest product, ahead of the Nintendo eShop card.
European GSD 2021 Top 20 Games (Digital + Physical)
* Digital data unavailable
GSD digital data includes games from participating companies sold via Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Nintendo Eshop. Participating companies are Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Big Ben Interactive, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Focus Home Interactive, Just For Games, Koch Media, Konami, Microids, Microsoft, Milestone, Paradox Interactive, Quantic Dream, Sega, Sony, Square Enix, Strelka, Take-Two, Tinybull, Ubisoft, UsTwo, Walt Disney, Warner Bros and Wizards of the Coast. Nintendo and Bethesda 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 and wallet card sales cover the same markets, but doesn’t include Switzerland.
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