Poland’s video game market growing faster than in EU

Screenshot from the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 game, developed by CD Projekt Red. Source: cyberpunk.net

According to the market intelligence company Newzoo, Poland’s computer and video games market is now worth nearly USD 550 million, making it the world’s 24th largest.

Polish game rocks E3, but gamers have to wait

CD Projekt, Poland’s top game developer, premiered the trailer for its new Cyberpunk 2077 game during the E3 expo in Los Angeles last week,...

see more

Although Poland dropped by a notch from last year’s 23rd place, the market continues to expand more dynamically than the European average. While the average growth in this sector for Europe in general amounts to six percent annually, Poland experienced a healthy growth of nine percent last year, the study shows.

Although Poland is still a featherweight compared to the top players such as China and the US, whose gaming markets are worth USD 32 billion and USD 25 billion respectively, the current trends are encouraging for the country’s burgeoning games industry. The number of Poland’s software development companies is estimated at 200-250, even though industry insiders believe that 300-400 would be closer to the mark.

What’s ahead

Among those companies, CD Projekt Red, a Warsaw bourse-listed powerhouse which has battled its way into Poland’s top 20 in terms of stock value, remains the most famous one, having successfully produced and marketed its acclaimed Witcher game series in the last couple of years.

The company is now working on the long-awaited “Cyberpunk 2077” project, a futuristic dystopian role-playing game the footage of which recently caused a considerable splash at E3 in Los Angeles. The trailer for the game has almost 14 million views on Youtube, and the company’s share price rose by 14 percent since the footage was first released to the public. This only adds to the meteoritic rise of company value this year, as the game developer is now worth about 80 percent more than it was in January.

Other Polish success stories include the company 11 bit studios, authors of the hit survival game “Frostpunk,” which sold over 250,000 copies in just three days after its release, as well as the real estate renovation game “House Flipper” by the company PlayWay, which achieved break-even less than 24 hours following its release. On the other hand, PlayWay’s rather more audacious project, the controversial horror game “Agony,” proved to be a bitter disappointment, panned by the critics for uninspired gameplay and an abundance of bugs.

A clean bill of health

According to Newzoo’s report, Poland’s market remains rather traditional due to the dominance of console and PC games, although the mobile games market now begins to loom large, with the authors of the study suggesting that it will account for 50 percent of the country’s global sales in just two years.

Poland’s developers are seemingly unconcerned by the recent news that the World Health Organization may place video game addiction on the list of recognized diseases. According to the WHO website, “gaming disorder” is characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing the priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities.”

When asked to comment about the plans to include gaming on the list of health disorders, however, most software developers seem to agree that gaming also has many advantages, such as encouraging young people to develop their intellectual, linguistic and manual skills.

In an interview with the Rzeczpospolita daily, Paweł Strojny, an academic researcher who also works for one of Poland’s game developers, commented that if the WHO decided to go ahead with the controversial plan, it would “fuel a suspicious attitude towards games and result in the stigmatization of millions of players.”