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MAIN FACTS & FIGURES 2015

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This factsheet presents an overview of the economic development of the Dutch games industry between 2011 and 2015. Research was conducted in the same manner as in 20121 to be able to compare the figures and to provide an insight in the changes in the last few years. A questionnaire was sent to more than 400 companies and returned by 130 companies. Following the presentation of the preliminary results, several industry roundtable discussions were held to further verify and analyze the results.

Definition of the Dutch Game Industry The games industry includes all companies whose core activities include at least one of the following processes in the value chain: the development, production, publication, facilitation and/or electronic distribution of electronic games. This definition entails that a significant part (at least one third) of the company’s turnover and/or strategic focus should be on the development, production, publication, facilitation and/or distribution of electronic games. Note that this current definition excludes companies that are part of the ecosystem but whose core business is not games. Clients, educational institutes, research institutes, marketing companies and the media industry are involved in the games industry but are not seen as being part of the games industry. The Games Monitor further discerns two domains in the games industry: entertainment games and applied games. Entertainment games entail all electronic games that have entertainment as their primary goal. On the other hand, applied games, also referred to as serious games, aim to inform, educate or train end-users. Applied games are developed and distributed in many sectors, including education, health, transport, marketing, and defense.

1. Databases from Control, Dutch Game Garden, Chamber of Commerce and LISA were used to compile a file of all game companies. The data were collated and analyzed by TNO/NEO.


Companies and jobs

Size of companies

The analysis shows a rapid growth in the number of

The average size of a company in the games industry

companies, from 320 in 2011 to 455 in 2015, an increase

is still relatively small: about 7 employees on average

of 42%. The same period also saw a large number of

in a game company (9 in 2012). This can be explained

companies close for business (110), which makes the

by the change in the structure of the games industry

overall growth even more impressive. This 42% growth is

in the Netherlands. Highest growth took place in game

mostly driven by new game developers. Whether these new

development which consists of relatively small-scale

companies will actually succeed in creating a sustainable

companies. The number of small companies in the games

business, or make the difficult transition from a start-up to

industry is rapidly increasing. This huge growth of small-

a scale-up, remains one of the biggest challenges for the

scale companies indicates that start-ups have gained a

Dutch (and European) gaming ecosystem.

dominant role in the industry.

The number of professionals working in the Dutch games

THE NUMBER OF GAME COMPANIES WITH OVER 10 EMPLOYEES ALSO INCREASED FROM 56 IN 2011 TO 65 IN 2015.

industry has grown as well, albeit much slower than the number of companies: from 27302 in 2011 to 3030 in 2015. The annual job growth of 2.6% is above the national average of -0.4% in 2011-2015.

Fig 1. Growth by firm size 2011-2015

163 139 107

Games Monitor 2015 Games Monitor 2012

98

53 33

35

36

22 11

0-1

2-5

6-10

11-25

5

5

26-50

4

3

51-100

101-249

Fig 2. Annual Turnover and profit

%

61,11

Turnover and profit

50%

Profit Annual turnover

The positive worldwide trends are, to some extent, reflected in the developments of the Dutch gaming ecosystem. The analysis reveals that over 60% of Dutch

14,4

7%

4%

16,6

game companies saw a growth in revenues, with an

10%

% 8,89

%

5,56

aggregated turnover of € 155-225 million. However, most profits are modest (up to € 100,000).

no profit

€0100.000

€ 100.000 € 250.000

€ 250.000 € 500.000

11,11%

3%

13,3 %

3,33

€ 500.000 € 1.000.000

more than € 1.000.000

2. A strict deployment of the definition led to a correction of the figures for 2011. Ten companies whose core focus is not video games were deleted. These companies employed 300 people at that time. Therefore the number of employees for 2011 is corrected to 2730.

%

5,56


Entertainment vs applied games A noticeable development is the distribution of growth

There’s almost no specialization in the type of sectors

between ‘entertainment’ and ‘applied’ games. Whereas

and clients the applied game companies work for.

applied games still have a strong foothold in the Dutch

Almost all of the surveyed studios said they were working

games industry (more so than in any other country3),

with clients from all possible sectors. Currently most of

the last couple of years saw a surge in the number of

the projects done by applied game studios are triggered

companies focused on entertainment games. Applied

by client. This will probably shift to a more product-based

games remain an important pillar of the Dutch games

approach, in which companies develop games or IP that

industry. The total number of companies involved in

are applicable and sellable to many clients, and move

applied games grew by 28% to 158 companies.

away from producing ‘one-off’ solutions for individual clients. This seems an important development towards

Fig 3. Number of gamedevelopers by specialization in 2011 and 2015, based on number of companies

Entertainment games

160 119 83

Games Monitor 2015 Games Monitor 2012

95

sustainability.

Dutch entertainment companies that were successful in the last couple of years are relatively large (11 to 25

36

Entertainment

Aplied

28

Both

37

32

12

Unknown

people). Our data indicates an influx of small studios with modest budgets and ambition.

Assets

Applied games

It is hardly a surprise that these new studios struggle to keep afloat. Based on the survey and additional data from sources like SteamSpy, we can conclude that the majority of start-ups have a low turnover and make little to no

Within the period 2011-2015 the market has not been as

profit. Another point of concern is the hit-driven nature of

calm as the end result may suggest. Most applied game

the games business. It is difficult to score a hit, but once a

studios indicated a sharp decline in clients in 2013 and

studio has one, it proves even more difficult to capitalize

specifically in 2014. The magnitude of this decline was

on that. With international development- and marketing

so severe that the continuity of some dedicated applied

budgets for games on the rise, a different attitude towards

game studios was threatened. Some of these companies

marketing and sales is necessary.

scaled down in workforce, leading to layoffs. Table 1: number of game students

In 2015 the number of tender requests started to rise again sharply. Some of the companies indicated having more interested clients than they could take on. Considering the recent experiences, some companies chose not to increase their workforce in order to cope with the increased number of orders. Instead they opted to consolidate and minimize risks over an increase in profits (and a potential greater risk).

Outflow of game students by knowledge institution

Minors and Full-time majors and masters courses

Total

Research university

189

257

446

University of Applied Science / higher vocational education

433

391

824

Vocational education

369

Total

991

Total outflow of game students

733

A NOTICEABLE TREND AMONG THE LARGER APPLIED GAME DEVELOPMENT STUDIOS IS PARTNERING FOR EXAMPLE ON MARKETING AND PROMOTION, BUT ALSO IN FINDING STRATEGIC ALLIANCES AND FUNDING.

3. Hard evidence is difficult to find, but several talks with game representatives from other countries confirm this notion.

369 648

1639 733


European comparison The trends for the Dutch games industry have been compared to European developments4. Many similarities between most European countries can be seen:

Game education

The games industry consists mainly of micro (<10 FTE) and small (<50 FTE) companies

Basically all of them report that percentage to be above 80-85%

In comparison to the 2012 Games Monitor , the number

of full-time game programs has increased by 25% from 35 to 44. Next to dedicated programs, many knowledge

between 2010 and 2013

institutions also offer a range of game minors and single courses to their students. These minors and courses are

At least half of game development studios have a turnover of <100k euro

significant increase of the total number of game-related minors and courses from 9 (2012) to 22 in 2015.

Strong growth in new studios: at least half of game development studios are younger than 5 years

part of Communication and Media Design, Computer Science, or Technical programs. This has resulted in a

A huge uptake is seen in iOS focused developers

There is a Top 10 or Top 20 of large and commercially successful studios

These 10 to 20 studios are responsible for at least 50, and in some cases up to 80% of the entire workforce

THE ANNUAL OUTFLOW OF ALL GAME STUDENTS HAS GROWN TO APPROXIMATELY 1600.

Difference between The Netherlands and most other European countries:

If one takes into account that an estimated 70% of

Heavy focus on applied games (almost 50%)

students from vocational education continue their studies

Lack of top 20 or top 10 of large and

at a university of applied science, the outflow of core

successful studios

game students is 733.

Significantly smaller turnover per employee (63k, depending on used method, European

Preliminary analysis of alumni show that 30% have found

average is somewhere between 150 and 200k,

a job in the games industry, 50% of the alumni work in the

Sweden and Finland approximately 400k euro)

creative industries (media companies, advertising industry,

Many game students

etc.), and the remaining 20% of the full-time alumni have found jobs outside the creative industry (software

To summarize, the Dutch games industry has seen a

companies, healthcare, etc.).

rapid growth with an increase of 42%. Entertainment and applied games both remain important in the industry,

Both the quantity and the quality of students has

with a steady growth. Partnerships among applied

been discussed with the industry. The quality of game

game companies are created in order to diminish risk.

education has been disputed. Some believe that the

Challenges facing the industry also remain similar to those

quality of game education is below average, but there

that were there in 2102 such as a lack of funding and

are of course large differences between institutions.

knowledge concerning entrepreneurship and business

A mismatch between industry needs and educational

models, scalability and sustainability and robustness of

levels has been ascertained. Some game studios are

start-ups. Large studios are few and far between but still

experiencing difficulties finding qualified interns/

remain the heavy hitters in the industry, encompassing the

employees and therefore are forced to look abroad.

majority of the workforce. An increase in the number of

Most experts agree that a business-oriented course

game courses and programs has not seen a great increase

should be added to game majors/masters. More

in the type of skills the job market needs. Bridging the gap

knowledge on entrepreneurship is needed.

between industry and education remains a challenge.

4. SOURCES: Nesta (2013), BUI (2013), Spanish Association for the Game and Entertainment Software Development and Publishing Industry (2013), Game Developer Index Sweden (2015), Baromètre du jeu vidÊo en France (2015), Interactive Denmark (ID), EGDF, Neogames Report Finland (2015), Control, TNO/CBS/LISA


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Games Monitor Main Facts & Figures  

Last October, the preliminary results from the Games Monitor were presented during Control Conference. Following further research and discus...

Games Monitor Main Facts & Figures  

Last October, the preliminary results from the Games Monitor were presented during Control Conference. Following further research and discus...

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