July 2018.- 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 130 companies in the Catalan gaming ecosystem
There are 130 video game companies established in Catalonia (28.9% of the Spanish total), with 2,441 employees (3almost 45% of Spain) and a €318M turnover (51.7% of Spain). In 2015, Catalan companies developed about 150 games, 40% for mobiles and 30% for online platforms.
In the last 5 years, Catalonia has been the 1st Southern European region in FDI job creation in the video game industry (fDi Markets). In the same period, Catalonia has been the 2nd Southern European region in FDI projects in video game, that represents a Capex of 29.8M€, and has concentrated 85.7% of the FDI projects received within the video game sector in Spain. National and international video game companies have invested in Catalonia, from local young entrepreneurs that have ended acquired, such as Social Point or Akamon, to big multinational companies, such Activision King or Ubisoft.
The Catalan video game industry is largely young and international, with companies such as Social Point, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Gameloft, Tangelo Games, Digital Legends, Novarama, Bee Square, Kerad Games, BlitWorks, U-Play Online, Abylight, BCNmultimedia, Game Troopers, Moonbite or Macflai Games.
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 (Second Smart City in the World).
With startups being one of the strongest employment and income creators in Europe, Barcelona is the 1st hub in Southern Europe in terms of startups.(Start-Up Genome, 2017). Furthermore, the Catalan capital ranks extremely well in terms of cost of living & best location for office space costs.
In its third annual report on the Technological Panorama in Europe, the investment fund Atomico highlights that Barcelona is the third city preferred by entrepreneurs to create a new startup, only behind London and Berlin.
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.
- There is a significant video game ecosystem in Barcelona & Catalonia, being the most important video game hub in Spain, and one of the biggest in Europe, growing at a double-digit pace last years.
- Catalonia is a pool of local and international talent attraction for the video game subsector. Catalonia has a wide offer of specialized video game training programs and a high standard of living and quality of life, being considered one of the most attractive cities in the world. In addition, labor costs are the most competitive for the video game industry.
- Barcelona stands out for its creativity & entrepreneurship, being considered the 4th most creative city in the world, and the Europe’s most innovative. Barcelona is also Europe’s 5th Start-up city, concentrating more than 1,200 startups in Catalonia.
- Having a strategic location and access to markets, Barcelona is the only city in Southern Europe that concentrates in 5 linear km, one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean, a high-speed train station, an awarded international airport and highways connected to the European network.
- Barcelona hosts International trade fairs & events such as the Mobile World Congress, which receives more than 100,000 visitors, the Barcelona Games World, ESL Competitions and market accelerators as the BCN Gamelab.
- Catalonia is a top R&D hub having leading scientific facilities, a strong digital business cluster in Barcelona and being the 1st region of Western Continental Europe to attract foreign investment in R&D.
- Catalonia has a strong business mindset, attracting, incentivating and supporting business opportunities.
Five video game trends that generate new business opportunities in Catalonia
- Virtual reality is a technology based on the creation of an immersive environment using powerful hardware and software, which produce interactive images and sound. Spain has the highest percentage of consumers with purchase intention and Barcelona has the strongest video game ecosystem, technological centers and important international conferences.
- eSports is a group of electronic sports organized as a competition in which professionals compete against each other. Turnover has grown 67% over the previous year, and is expected to grow at least 40% annually until 2019. Barcelona has already hosted international eSports competitions, having dedicated TV channels as well as professional eSports clubs.
- Cloud gaming is a new way to organize how video games are executed, played and distributed; using a central server for the game processing and streaming the image to a wide assortment of hardware, which only needs internet connection. It’s expected to grow a 29% CAGR until 2020. Barcelona has one of the fastest internet connections, important technological centers and competitive operation costs.
- Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts, implementing the latest methodologies and tools for the business world. The pharma or medical industry, with a significant presence in Catalonia, could adopt these innovations for training and practice purposes.
- Game porting is the term used when a video game designed to run on one platform is converted to run on a different platform. Barcelona has a high availability of talented software developers at a competitive cost, a strong video game ecosystem, related technological centers devoted to the video game industry and top-level international trade fairs.