Video games in Germany

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Germany has the second-largest video games market in Europe, with 44.3 million gamers in 2018, after Russia.[1][2][3] Consumers in Germany spent €4.4 billion on video games over the course of 2018, a 9 percent year-on-year increase from 2017.[4] The video game market in Germany grew by 6 percent to €6.2 billion ($6.7 billion) in 2019.[5]

The annual Gamescom in Cologne is the world's largest video game expo by number of attendees.[6]

Home production[edit]


German production of popular video-games began principally on the 16-bit systems such as the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST in the 1980s, although a number of successful titles were also released on the Commodore 64 which dominated the 8-bit computer market in the country at the time. Popular developers of the 16-bit era included Thalion, Factor 5 (who were responsible for developing the entire Turrican series) and Blue Byte. Blue Byte and Factor 5 remain in existence in 2006 and produce titles for Windows PCs.

Modern day[edit]

By 2002, German games were heavily tilted toward construction and management simulations, according Der Spiegel's Frank Patalong. He noted that "nowhere else in the world are simulations as successful as here at home. Titles such as The Settlers, Die Völker [and] Anno 1602 have dominated the German sales charts for years".[7] Released in 1998, Anno 1602 by Sunflowers Interactive was Germany's best-selling computer game of all time as of December 2002, with sales of 2.5 million copies worldwide and 1.7 million in the German market.[8] Its sequel, Anno 1503, broke its sales record to become Germany's fastest full-price computer game to reach 500,000 domestic sales.[9] It ultimately sold over one million units in German-speaking countries,[10] and, when combined with its predecessor, reached 4.5 million sales worldwide by October 2006.[11] The titles began the Anno series.

One of the most famed titles to come out of Germany is Far Cry by Frankfurt-based Crytek, who also produced Crysis. Factor 5 had been concentrating on the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series of video games from 1999 until 2003, and released Lair, an action game for the PlayStation 3, in 2007.

Ascaron produced the Elite homage Darkstar One, and continued to produce the popular Anstoss (lit. 'Kickoff') series of football games, the first two installations of which were released under the title On the Ball in English-speaking countries.

Game developers from Germany[edit]

Company Location Founded Known for
Ubisoft Blue Byte Düsseldorf 1988 The Settlers series, Assassin's Creed: Identity
Ubisoft Berlin Berlin 2018 Far Cry series
Crytek Frankfurt 1999 Crysis series, Far Cry, Warface
Daedalic Entertainment Hamburg 2007 Deponia series, The Whispered World
Deck13 Frankfurt 2001 Ankh series, Jack Keane, Blood Knights, Lords of the Fallen, The Surge
Egosoft Würselen 1988 X series
Keen Games Frankfurt 2005 Secret Files: Tunguska, Anno: Create a New World, Sacred 3
King Art Games Bremen 2000 The Book of Unwritten Tales, The Dwarves, Iron Harvest
Mimimi Games Munich 2011 Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, Desperados III
Piranha Bytes Essen 1997 Gothic series, Risen series, ELEX
Related Designs (Blue Byte Mainz) Mainz 1995 Anno series, No Man's Land, Might and Magic: Heroes Online
Yager Development Berlin 1999 Dead Island 2, Spec Ops: The Line

Former studios[edit]

Company Location Founded Known for
Ascaron Aachen 1992 (Defunct 2009) Sacred, DarkStar One
Attic Entertainment Software Albstadt 1990 (Defunct 2001) Realms of Arkania: Shadows over Riva
Factor 5 Cologne 1987 (Defunct 2011) Turrican
EA Phenomic Ingelheim 1997 (Defunct 2013) SpellForce: The Order of Dawn
Massive Development Mannheim 1994 (Defunct 2005) AquaNox
Radon Labs Berlin 1995 (Defunct 2010) Drakensang: The Dark Eye
Spellbound Entertainment Offenburg 1994 (Defunct 2012) Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive
Thalion Software Gütersloh 1988 (Defunct 1994) Amberstar, Ambermoon

Game publishers from Germany[edit]

Company Location Founded Type
Bigpoint Games Hamburg HQ 2002 publisher and developer
Deep Silver Planegg HQ 2002 publisher and developer
dtp entertainment Hamburg HQ 1995 publisher and developer
Goodgame Studios Hamburg HQ 2009 publisher and developer
Nintendo of Europe GmbH Frankfurt 1990 publisher and main HQ for Nintendo's European division
Gameforge Karlsruhe HQ 2003 publisher
gamigo Hamburg HQ 2000 publisher
Kalypso Media Worms HQ 2006 publisher and developer
MegaZebra Munich HQ 2008 publisher and developer
Travian Games Munich HQ 2005 publisher and developer
Wooga Berlin HQ 2009 publisher and developer

Popular titles from Germany[edit]


Within Germany there is a popular taste for historical trade and warfare simulations, notably exceeding that of many other countries. Some German-developed titles in this genre, such as 1602 A.D. and its sequels, and The Patrician, have also been successful abroad.

Vehicle simulator games are also very popular in Germany.[12] Many add-on developers for established simulator franchises, including Train Simulator and Microsoft Flight Simulator, are based in Germany, with one of the most popular, Aerosoft, being based in North Rhine-Westphalia.

First-person shooters have also been traditionally quite popular in recent years, and there has been considerable debate about and censorship of the violent content of many such games. Consequently these games, especially uncut versions, became highly coveted in gaming circles for many years (though the modern Internet and VPNs allow players virtually anywhere to obtain a game from, or play on a server hosted in, virtually any other jurisdiction today).

Trade fairs[edit]

Games Convention 2006 in Leipzig, Germany

From 2002 to 2008 the main video game trade fair in Germany was the Games Convention which was held annually in Leipzig, and was highly recognized by the press. Since 2009 it was discontinued, as the Gamescom in Cologne took the place of the major video game trade fair in the world.

The USK and censorship[edit]

Violence in video games is a controversial subject in Germany, and German localisations of violent games are often heavily cut by the publishers to permit a public release. Usually this entails a simple removal or reduction of depictions of blood and gore, but often extends to cuts in the content or plot of the game, as was the case in Phantasmagoria, Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh, Counter-Strike, Grand Theft Auto, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and South Park: The Stick of Truth.

All games that are released to the public are required to carry a certificate given by the USK (Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle – Voluntary Monitoring Organisation of Entertainment Software). If the USK refuses certification of a title, it may be, and often is, placed upon the index of media harmful to youth kept by an offshoot of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs. The compulsory nature of the USK label was a consequence of the 2003 modification of the Jugendschutzgesetz or youth protection laws.

The 2003 changes to the Jugendschutzgesetz also announced an intent to extend the restrictions on the depiction of violence in video games, leaving open the possibility of banning any depiction of violence in video games, which was met by widespread outcry from the video game community in Germany. The then in power CDU/SPD coalition government announced an intention to enact this in 2005, but in November 2006 such restrictions were not enacted at that time.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Germany Games Market 2018", New Zoo, July 25, 2018
  2. ^ "With 2.66 billions of revenue, Germany is Europe's top video game market, new data by Newzoo and G.A.M.E." German Games Industry Association (GAME). 1 March 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  3. ^ Mastrapa, Gus (17 August 2009). "Germany Becomes Europe's Largest Videogame Market". Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Smartphones are the most popular games platform". 16 July 2019.
  5. ^ Kerr, Chris. "The German game market grew by 6 percent in 2019 thanks to in-game spending".
  6. ^ Tatár, Susanna (14 August 2014). "How Nvidia Will Be Going Big at Gamescom, the World's Biggest Gaming Show" (Press release). Nvidia. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  7. ^ Patalong, Frank (January 11, 2002). "Wuselige Zeitreise". Der Spiegel (in German). Archived from the original on November 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "Platin für Anno 1503". n-tv (in German). December 26, 2002. Archived from the original on November 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Steininger, Stefan (January 21, 2004). "Anno 1503 schlägt Anno 1602". GamesMarkt (in German). Archived from the original on November 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "FIFA 17 verkauft eine Millionen Units auf PS4 in Deutschland". GamesMarkt (in German). May 15, 2017. Archived from the original on December 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "Teuerstes Spiel aus Deutschland". n-tv (in German). October 23, 2006. Archived from the original on January 1, 2010.
  12. ^ [1][dead link]