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French Games Market Has Grown 40% Since 2016

French Games Market Has Grown 40% Since 2016 - Sales

by William D'Angelo , posted on 03 September 2021 / 4,822 Views

The French games market has grown by 40% since 2016, which saw €3.6 billion in revenue. In 2020 the market earned €5.3 billion.

SELL, which tracks the French games market released its yearly report this week, which revealed there were over 27.5 million games sold in France in 2020, with over 2.3 million console sold. 

"I think we were just in a specific year -- a year where we would be releasing two new consoles, [which is] one of the main reasons why we were expecting such growth, especially on the hardware side," said SELL president Julie Chalmette via GamesIndustry.

"And we were also expecting quite a lot of big new releases in terms of software. [In 2019], we had this slight decrease on the market compared to 2018, but we had anticipated that 2020 would mark a comeback to growth."

Chalmette added that COVID and the lockdowns have increased the amount of time people have spent gaming and the average spent on gaming grew from €110 in 2019 to €123 in 2020. 

"There is no doubt that COVID and lockdown -- especially the first lockdown -- had a tremendous impact on several aspects of video gaming," Chalmette said. "First of all people have played more than they used to. [Across] console, PC, and mobile, the average number of hours played every week increased quite dramatically between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the very first quarter of 2020, which marks the very beginning of the lockdown. So the numbers soared from eight hours and 30 minutes to nine hours and 30 minutes.

"The average spend has increased too, from €110 last year to €123 this year. So not only have people played a bit more, but also they have spent a bit more on video games. What we've also seen is that the number of full games downloaded has increased quite dramatically from one year to another. So last year we sold 27.5 million units of full games, which is an increase of 16.6% -- out of that, 12 million were digital, which was an increase of 65.5% compared to [2019]."

Physical game sales decreased 3.2 percent in 2020, which digital sales grew. This compares to the UK where physical sales actually increased two percent, and by an impressive 15 percent in Australia. Chalmette is not surprised by a shift to digital as this has been a trend for many years.

"I would have expected a much more dramatic decrease given the circumstances on the French market -- many stores were closed for a high number of weeks," she says. "I think it is quite obvious that the trend of the market is going towards digital. [It] is growing from one year to another and there is no doubt that it's a long long-term trend.

"We saw a decrease of physical sales the year before [too] and we've seen that for quite many years. So we would have expected 2020 to be even worse in terms of physical sales. But it's not what happened."

French continues to be dominated by Nintendo as 11 of the top 20 best-selling games in 2020 were published by Nintendo. Those games sold almost 3.7 million units. Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the number one selling physical game with nearly 1.1 million units sold.

This dates back from many years, so it's not only with the Switch, it was true also with the DS," Chalmette said. "Somehow I would say that I think there is more maturity in the [English-speaking] markets for gamers. I think that Nintendo with the DS brought many new gamers [to the market], and people stuck with that.

"Something about the French market as well is that my generation -- I'm almost 50 -- was raised with Japanese manga and anime. France is the second biggest market for manga in the world. So there is this appetite for everything that relates to Japan in France, and maybe part of the explanation lies here. But other than that, I feel that the French market is still more of a mass market -- [with] mass market gamers as opposed to like super hardcore [gamers]. So you probably have a higher proportion of hardcore gamers in the UK than we have in France."

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 or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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Killy_Vorkosigan (on 04 March 2021)

I dont really agree on her analysis about hardcore gaming. If you link hardcore gaming with e sport (which I agree is not totally accurate), French representation is spanned across most top tier esport scenes, such as DOTA2, CS:GO, TFT, LOL, SC2, SSBU, GGX ....

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