Catalonia, top EU region in foreign investment attraction into the video game sector

16 Sep 2022

  • 20 new foreign investment projects from international studios have been attracted over the last five years, representing an investment of close to 120 million euros and the creation of almost 900 jobs
  • 40% of the leading global videogame companies are present in Catalonia, such as Bandai Namco, Ubisoft, and King
  • Currently, ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment is working with a portfolio of 40 potential foreign investment projects in the video game sector, the highest number on record
  • The President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, and the Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, met today with the main video game studios established in Catalonia to analyze the situation of the sector and its future challenges

Catalonia is the leading region in the European Union in foreign investment attraction from the video game sector according to the study The video game sector in Catalonia by ACCIÓ – Catalonia Trade & Investment published this Friday.

This was announced by the President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, accompanied by the Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, during a working meeting with the main foreign video game studios established in Catalonia.

According to data collected by ACCIÓ – Catalonia Trade & Investment from the fDi Markets database, over the last five years Catalonia has attracted 20 new foreign investment projects from international video game studios, representing an investment of close to 120 million euros and the creation of some 900 jobs. The main investing countries during this period (2017-2021) were the United States, France, Sweden, and South Korea.

Thus, Catalonia has attracted 12.2% of foreign investment allocated to the entire European Union during this five-year period and is the leading EU region both in terms of the number of projects and the investment volume in the field of video games, ahead of the Amsterdam region (West Netherlands), Ireland, Sweden, and the French regions of Bordeaux and Paris.

At the same time, Catalonia is the second EU region in terms of the number of jobs created thanks to these foreign investment projects.

 

The study presented today highlights that 40% of the world's leading video game companies are present in Catalonia and includes examples of investments from leading international studios in this sector, which are even developing AAA video games out of Catalonia. In other words, major projects with highly significant budgets and sales levels.

Furthermore, it is noteworthy the presence in Barcelona of companies such as Ubisoft from France, Scopely from the United States, the South Korean Smilegate, King from the UK, and the Japanese Bandai Namco. The report also highlights Activision Blizzard's acquisition of the Barcelona firm Digital Legends, which was subsequently bought by Microsoft.

The president of the Government of Catalonia said that, in recent years, “Catalonia has positioned itself as one of the most dynamic hubs in Europe for developing projects such as video games, especially in mobile games". For this reason, he said, "the search for the foreign investment and support for companies that have already opted for Catalonia is one of the Government's priorities".

During the meeting, Pere Aragonès showed his commitment to exploring ways of collaboration to "consolidate Catalonia as one of the most relevant hubs in Europe in this field" and, at the same time, “continue to strengthen Catalonia’s economy based on creativity, talent, entrepreneurship, and innovation”.

The Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, stated: “Catalonia has a dynamic video game ecosystem with many prospects for future growth, which is a driving force for the rest of the economic sectors and fundamental for the future".

Torrent added: "40% of the world's main video game companies have a presence in Catalonia. We want to go further and grow, so we can attract new foreign investment projects and continue promoting Catalonia's talent".

The meeting was also attended by the Director General of Innovation and Digital Culture of the Department of Culture, Marisol López, the Secretary of Business and Competitiveness, Albert Castellanos, and the executive director of ACCIÓ- Catalonia Trade & Investment, Joan Romero.

Catalonia Trade & Investment works with a portfolio of 40 potential projects from foreign companies in Catalonia within the video game field. It is one of the five sectors with the most projects in the entire portfolio and represents the highest figure on record.

For the Government of Catalonia, video games are a key sector thanks to the impulse it generates in terms of disruption and innovation generally, not to mention the international positioning it projects from Catalonia to the world and its technological connection with other sectors. Trends suggest that much of the growth in this sector in coming years will focus on new technologies already playing a significant role in areas such as the metaverse, virtual and augmented reality, serious games, and eSports, among others.

Catalonia currently accounts for 50% of the total Spanish turnover for the video game industry, according to data from the ICEC (Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises) shown in the report. Catalonia has 56 startups linked to this sector (a growth rate of 43% over the last four years), a dozen universities with specialized studies, and 7 tech centers with R&D projects in this field, as well as associations, incubators, and top-level events such as DeviCAT, Game BCN or Integrated Systems Europe (ISE).

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