Video Games

The video game industry in Catalonia


May 2016.- The Catalan video game industry is one of the most dynamic sectors in the digital content field, positioning itself as the driving force for the digital economy. The industry has excellent business opportunities and excellent job creation prospects as it is taking shape as a young, innovative industry with global vision.

More than 100 companies in the Catalan gaming ecosystem

There are more than 100 video game companies established in Catalonia (25.15% of the Spanish total), with 928 employees (27.95% of Spain) and a €95.7M turnover (23.17% of Spain). In 2015, Catalan companies developed about 150 games, 40% for mobiles and 30% for online platforms.

The boom in games for mobiles and the digital distribution have helped new companies to emerge. Most companies were formed less than 5 years ago (65%), and 28% less than two ago. Some noteworthy companies like Activision Blizzard or Ubisoft, among others, are successfully operating in Catalonia.

Foreign capital investment in the Catalan gaming industry covers 50.6 % of total capital investment in Spain, 47% of the projects and 46.9% of jobs created (FDI Markets, 2003 - 2015). When compared to Western Europe, it represents 3.4% of all projects, 2.4% of CAPEX and 5.7% of the region’s Gaming FDI jobs.

Entrepreneurial spirit

Barcelona is recognized as the best technological ecosystem in Southern Europe and some of the companies born here are known for their growth potential. The city is Western Europe’s mostattractive metropolitan area for investment (Site selection), and a global benchmark for smart and mobile cities (Top World Smart City).

With startups being one of the strongest employment and income creators in Europe, Barcelona is the 5th Startup Region in Europe according to Compass and ACCIÓ, behind London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam. The CITIE 2015 report lists Barcelona as the 4th Best city favouring digital entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the Catalan capital ranks extremely well in terms of cost of living & best location for office space costs.

Why is Catalonia good for the Gaming Industry?

Catalonia offers excellent investment opportunities for the establishment of R&D centres in game programming, HQ & sales offices, and strong growth trends that may offer additional business opportunities in some fields such as porting and gamification activities.

  • Young, creative and qualified professionals and researchers from all over Europe
    Barcelona is the 4th Most Creative City in the World (BCD on the Barcelona Brand, 2013). Catalonia has a large pool of highly skilled professionals and outstanding academia accounting for more than 56,000 students in ICT & Engineering at internationally renowned universities such as the UPC, ESADE or UPF. In Catalonia, 7 universities offer ICT studies. The high availability of talented software developers means innovative ideas are being continuously generated. Almost 800 students are enrolled in a wide offer of specialized video game training programs that range from videogame creation, design and development or arts, design, 3d, games, animation and visual effects to multimedia engineering or interactive digital content. 
  • Mobile World Capital and international major events
    The Mobile World Capital turns Barcelona into the permanent global centre for mobile technologies and involves the development of a business environment focused on this type of industry at international level, developing programmes in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, health, education and smart cities, among others. Barcelona has held the Mobile World Congress every year since 2006 and will continue to host the world's main event for mobile phone-related industries until at least 2023. Gamelab Barcelona and Barcelona Games World are other major international event focused on this type of industry.
  • Best location for office space costs
    Barcelona has the lowest unit costs for office space of the main cities in Europe and it is the 6th city with the world's best reputation according to City RepTrak 2015.
  • Outstanding ICT environment
    Catalonia is home to large ICT clusters and technology parks. With the Eurecat Technology Centre, the National Supercomputing Centre or 22@Barcelona area, Catalonia is extremely well positioned to foster technology transfer and collaboration between academia, industry, public administration. Leading research centres working in ICT are the Computer Vision Centre or the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute.

2015 Global Games Market Report

According to the 2015 Global Games Market Report, on a world level the video game sector is the technology industry with the best growth prospects. In 2014, the world video game market reached 81,500 million dollars. It is expected to close 2015 showing a figure of 91,500 million dollars. These figures are generated by the steady growth of the gaming community, which in 2014 was 1,700 million and that by the end of 2015 will exceed 1,900 million.

2015 White paper on video game development in Spain

The figures for the Spanish market corroborate the very positive growth projections for the world video game market. In fact, the market in Spain is growing faster than in the European Union countries as a whole. Internet-linked distribution models (MMO video games, video games via social networks, casual video games on websites and video games for mobile devices) represented 38% of the market.

Spain is among the top five European countries in terms of game revenue in 2015 together with Germany, UK, France and Italy. According to the 2015 White paper on video game development by the DGV, the Spanish Association for the Game and Entertainment Software Development and Publishing Industry, there are 330 video game companies employing 3,376 people in Spain, with a turnover of €413M. It is foreseen that the Spanish videogames industry turnover will grow at an annual rate of 24.7% until 2018.

New gaming platforms and digital distribution drive exports forward. The Spanish video game development industry is largely an exporter: 56% of its turnover comes from international markets with Europe (24%) and North America (20%) representing the largest overseas markets. The Asian market with 7% and Latin America with a weight of 4% are expanding markets so present a niche of big growth opportunities.

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Catalonia offers the videogame industry:

Domestic market growth potential
Proximity to markets or customers
Industry cluster/Critical mass
Competitive skilled workforce availability
Universities or researchers
Language Skills
International Trade Fairs
Specialized support institutions & cluster associations
Business friendly climate
Quality of life

In Catalonia your company can find investment opportunities for the establishment of R&D centres in game programming, HQ & sales offices, and strong growth trends that may offer additional business opportunities in some fields such as porting and gamification activities.

Main incentive programmes

Main incentive programmes for the video games industry include incentive programmes for cultural projects (Catalan Institute for Cultural Industries), MEDIA – Video Games (EU) and Experimental Entertainment Software Development projects (Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism)

International videogame conferences in Barcelona

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