State of the Nordic Game Industry 2020

By ANGI Nordic (Association for the Nordic Game Industry), 19. Jan. 2021

2020 has been a difficult and uncharacteristic year for everybody due to the Covid-19 virus. Retail, trade fairs, events and in fact entire Nordic countries were locked down.

The games industry had and still has a special status – we are an important part of the solution in coping with the isolation caused by the pandemic and helping with online education, socialization, and maintaining the general mental health.

Combat against Covid-19

Countless trade fairs, shows and events throughout 2020 have been cancelled, postponed, or moved to online-only, and both e-sport and startups have suffered – but still the industry thrives while other industries are struggling to survive. As shops were closing across the Nordic countries during 2020, digital software sales showed record growth.

We experienced a much higher level of engagement with games. In return, the industry showed strong social commitment through various initiatives for both the general public, the video game player, and the frontline workers. The massive scope of all the initiatives can be discovered at ISFE’s resource page on Covid-19  – including activities such as:

Various companies in the video games industry donated games to the frontline workers. A global learning platform was launched to help children with schooling at home. Large donations to relevant NGO’s were made by video game developers around the world. All major video game developers inserted in-game messaging, events, offers, trials, and discounts to encourage players to stay home.

Educating the educators

The use of video games in learning has already proved valuable and continues to help build up important skills such as communication, teamwork, analytical skills, and critical thinking.

 ANGI and the Nordic video games industry was a part of the European “Games in Schools” project – educating and motivating teachers to use video games in their online education. The “Teachers Handbook” was distributed widely across all of Europe, and the project had a significant Nordic touch when the Swedish teacher – Felix Gyllenstig Serrao – appeared in the European Parliament and spelled out the results of his ground-breaking studies on video games and teaching children with special needs.

Read more about the project here: https://www.isfe.eu/learning-by-playing-benefits/

Distribution and availability

2020 was yet another year with a rise in the digital sale of video games – partly due to the global lock down. In addition, we had the birth of new business models within streaming video games and “all you can eat”-subscription services. Still, this does not mean that retail is dead at all, but the pandemic did not exactly help the retail industry.

Everybody is a video gamer

The latest report on the European video games market shows that more than half of the population aged 6-64 play video games. We see the exact same trends across our Nordic countries.

The average player is now 31 years old and almost half of the players are women.

The European video games market has a turnover of 14 Billion Euros and has grown by 55% since 2014. We estimate the Nordic video games market to be close to 1 Billion Euros.

Next generation hardware

To end on a positive note, 2020 was a very exiting year with the launch of the much-anticipated next generation consoles: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

Ahead of each new generation of consoles, doom prophecies emerge stating that this will be the very last console generation. But once again, the new consoles are instantly sold out everywhere.

In the industry, we have huge expectations for 2021 to be a great year for all video games and especially for console games, with potential for massive improvement in games complexity and appearance.

Daniel Reynolds, chairman of the ANGI board