Video game industry in Catalonia doubles turnover in five years
More than 50% of video games are available in Catalan and number expected to increase 'exponentially'
The video game industry is rising in Catalonia. In 2021, the revenue had doubled compared to five years earlier growing to €660 million, or 0.25% of the GDP, according to figures from the Catalan Department of Culture.
This is the highest figure in Spain and means that Catalan companies are responsible for over 50% of the revenue generated in the whole of Spain.
Video games in Catalan
The data also shows that 53% of the games released in 2021 from Catalan video game studios were available in Catalan. This puts Catalan at the same level as Japanese, and slightly above Chinese with 50% of the games available in that language.
According to estimates from the Department of Culture, video games available in Catalan are expected to rise to 60% in 2023, and will grow “exponentially” in the coming years.
Although far away from the English and Spanish language options with 97% and 91% availability, respectively.
Barcelona, a European center for video games
As the video game market grows, the Catalan capital is becoming one of the largest “developing centers” in Europe and the world, Iván Fernández Lobo, secretary general of the Catalan Video Games Developers’ and Editors’ Association (Devicat), told the Catalan News Agency (ACN).
According to the Catalan Department of Culture, about 90% of all video game companies in Catalonia are located in Barcelona.
Fernández cites the city’s “ability to attract talent” to the city over the past decade with “high-quality Catalan initiatives” as the main reason for the growth of the Catalan market and why larger companies are coming to Barcelona.
The creators of the Catalan video game studio, Alik Studio, brothers Marc and Xavi Terris, say that in the last decade many “quality studios” and foreign companies hiring Catalans have appeared. This has “sparked an interest” of many people to work in the video game industry, says Xavi Terris.
The growth of the industry is also reflected in the number of jobs created. In 2021, 4,249 people worked in video game companies in Catalonia, representing 50% of all the jobs in the sector in Spain.
Problems finding profiles for senior roles
According to the Department of Culture, 59% of video game studios say they have trouble finding qualified candidates to fill the job positions.
“Not everyone trained in Catalonia meets the expectations of the companies,” Iván Fernández Lobo explains about why companies recruit abroad. “We need to improve training here,” he adds.
Marisol López says that the department needs to bring companies and educational institutions together to match the expectations between the two: “Companies say they need talent, and the educational institutions say they need places where students can do internships.”
Europe and North America, the largest markets
In 2021, there were 132 video game companies in Catalonia, a slight increase from 123 in 2020.
The main market for the Catalan companies is the European one, which accounts for 43%, while the North American market is the second largest with 36%.
75% of video games are created for PC use.
Market will continue to grow
Marisol López, general director of the Innovation and Digital Culture division within the Department of Culture, expects that revenues to continue to grow “knowing that powerful companies have entered the market."
According to López, the Catalan video games market has undergone a transformation over the past few years, from a “very atomized” sector of small companies to an established market with trade shows and major events.