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Digital Game Sales Grew 47% in Europe in 2020

Digital Game Sales Grew 47% in Europe in 2020 - Sales

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 March 2021 / 3,256 Views

There were 211.9 million games sold in EMEA (UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, Middle East, and Africa) in 2020, according to figures from tracking firm GSD and reported by GamesIndustry. GSD tracked physical game sales and digital game sales from most of the big game publishers. 

In mainland Europe, (Benelux, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Iberia, Nordics, and Poland) there were 123.7 million games sold, which is 19 percent higher than in 2019. 58.7 million of those games were digital downloads, which is a huge increase of 47 percent year-over-year. Despite lockdowns across Europe due to the pandemic, 65 million physical games were sold, which is up 0.8 percent. 

FIFA 21 was the best-selling game in Europe in 2020, which is not a surprise. In countries that had retail and digital sales numbers, FIFA 21 number one in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Finland was the lone exception where NHL 21 took the top spot. 

Grand Theft Auto V was the second best-selling game in Europe, followed by Animal Crossing: New Horizons. FIFA 20 is in fourth and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is in fifth. 

Nintendo was the biggest publisher in terms of physical game sales with over 28 percent of the total games sold. This is more than double EA, which came in second. Ubisoft was the number one publisher in terms of digital game sales with an almost 18 percent marketshare. EA took second as well. 

The PS4 was the biggest platform in terms of digital game sales with 52 percent of those numbers. PC was second with 27 percent. It should be mentioned Game Pass is not included in this figure. 

The PS4 was the biggest platform in terms of physical game sales with 43 percent of those numbers. The Nintendo Switch came in second with 31 percent of the market. However, this does vary depending on the country. The Switch was number one in France and Germany, while PS4 came out on top in Italy and Spain. 

Taking a look at console sales, GSD tracks this data in Benelux, France, Switzerland, Nordics, Spain, and Italy. In these markets, there were 5.59 million consoles sold, which is down 1.9 percent year-over-year. 

The Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console in these markets in 2020, with sales up 22 percent compared to 2019. It sold almost three times more consoles than the PS4, which came in second place. PS4 sales did drop 42 percent in 2020. The PS5 was the third best-selling console, followed by the Xbox Series X|S, and then the Xbox One. 

The Nintendo Switch was number one in every market, except in Denmark and Finland, where the PS4 was number one, and in Sweden, where the PS5 was number one. 

While the number of consoles did drop year-over-year, the revenue from console sales did grow 12 percent to €1.7 billion. This is due to the higher prices of the new consoles that launched in November. 

Here are the top 20 best-selling games - digital and physical:

Position Title
1 FIFA 21 (EA)
2 Grand Theft Auto 5 (Rockstar)
3 Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo)*
4 FIFA 20 (EA)
5 Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Activision Blizzard)
6 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe (Nintendo)*
7 The Last of Us Part 2 (Sony)
8 Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft)
9 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
10 Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar)
11 NBA 2K20 (2K Games)
12 Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Nintendo)*
13 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft)
14 Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt)*
15 Minecraft: Switch Edition (Nintendo/Microsoft)*
16 Ghost of Tsushima (Sony)
17 Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft)
18 Ring Fit Adventure (Nintendo)
19 Just Dance 2020
20 Super Mario Party (Nintendo)*

*Digital data not available

Here are the top 10 best-selling digital games in Europe minus UK:

Position Title
1 FIFA 21 (EA)
2 Grand Theft Auto 5 (Rockstar)
3 FIFA 20 (EA)
4 Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Activision Blizzard)
5 NBA 2K20 (2K Games)
6 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Activision Blizzard)
7 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft)
8 Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar)
9 Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft)
10 Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft)

Here are the top 10 best-selling physical games in Europe minus UK:

Position Title
1 FIFA 21 (EA)
2 Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo)
3 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe (Nintendo)
4 The Last of Us: Part 2 (Sony)
5 Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Nintendo)
6 Grand Theft Auto 5 (Rockstar)
7 Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft)
8 FIFA 20 (EA)
9 Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt)
10 Minecraft: Switch Edition (Nintendo)

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, Codemasters, Electronic Arts, Focus Home Interactive, Koch Media, Konami, Microids, Microsoft, Milestone, Paradox Interactive, Quantic Dream, Sega, Sony, Square Enix, Strelka, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Nintendo and Bethesda are the notable absentees, alongside smaller studios.

This report focuses on sales figures in Benelux, France, GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria), Iberia, Nordics and Poland. For hardware, GSD data specifically covers Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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1 Comments
SilenceDeadly (on 08 February 2021)

Made a thread about this, insane SW year for PlayStation, overall with Q4 included Sony will have sold +300M of SW, must be a new all time record !?

53% Digital Share + 43% Physical is bonkers.

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