Forbes: Europe prefers sports, casual gaming

News standard says region's interest in action and FPS dwarfed by that of US; Crytek CEO says EU sees shooters as "evil."

According to Forbes, European gamers prefer racing and soccer games to action adventure and first-person shooters.

To make evidence for this claim, Forbes cites research from the International Development Group, which points out that Bungie's acclaimed sci-fi shooter Halo 3 had sold 900,000 in Europe during 2007. Conversely, Halo 3 was the number-one selling game in the US during 2007, with 4.8 million units sold according to the NPD Group.

As for what sold well in Europe, Nintendo's Brain Training ("Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day" in the US) was the top game in the region for 2007, selling 2.8 million units, and EA's soccer sim FIFA 2008 scored second with 2.3 million copies sold, according to IDG data. Neither game cracked the NPD Group's top 10 list in the US during 2007.

The article goes on to argue that the continent favors older consoles and plays more casual games. "Guns and gore don't sell as well in Europe because Europeans like short, so-called casual games, rather than the long, epic tales that keep gamers pounding on their consoles for hours," notes Forbes. "People can play these short games on trains and subways on their way to work."

Forbes notes that the PlayStation 2 still had a 47 percent market share in 2007, and that the Nintendo DS came in second place with 25 percent, according to the IDG.

Cevat Yerli, CEO of Crytek and director of the 2007 hit FPS Crysis, briefly weighed in with his opinion, suggesting that Europeans believe shooters to be "evil." Although that statement wasn't expounded upon, Yerli has in the past been critical of his government's extreme stance on violence in games. After several members of the German parliament called in 2006 for a ban to all violent games, Yerli indicated that he would consider moving his company out of the country if those games were to be outlawed.

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Discussion

144 comments
Nene33
Nene33

We love our sports games, and for most Europeans Football(soccer) is their game, if you take the number of NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB games sold, you'd probably get a similar % of sports-games sold in the US. Also, I think the European market is more individualistic, and scattered when it comes to Shooters/FPS/RPG's, which means which means you can't really create as much hype, as you can in the US.

eestiwe
eestiwe

I agree. I have many sports games. But not only.

sammyd90
sammyd90

I disagree I live in the uk and ive never owned any sports game at all and the only racer ive played is burnout.

Stabby
Stabby

I don't think Europeans do, but the European media. Many many people scoff at hardcore titles but only Nintendo products are advertised.

zero-G1080
zero-G1080

interesting because im from the UK and ive got halo 3 and ninja gaiden 2. having said that i also have pro evo 08 and burnout.

Quadster
Quadster

ok, this is why my gaming interest is fading....because of the lack of variety, UK misses out on some seriously good games, and hardware, and we end up having too many rehashes of crappy racing and sports games, and too many mish mash games. Then for these guys to come in and say europeans only play "sports and racing" games.....i dunno about you guys, but these games ultimately..SUCK!!!...it's only the casuals that buy a console and buy a few "sports" games because their mates have them or something dumb like that. These freaking Officials really need to look at the bigger picture, not everyone wants to watch TV, there's rarely ANYTHING good to watch(Reality BS, shopping BS...etc etc), not everyone wants to follow the herd and not everyone wants to play these crap games.

andrat99
andrat99

Meh, who cares really, as long as maintstream FPS/Anything else still get to Europe, cencsored or not. Oh well, as long as us Canadians don't get anymore idiot officials (I'm looking at YOU Harper) we're good :D

Skybluemad04
Skybluemad04

One thing, Football, (soccer for you American lot :P) is massive in Europe, the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A are amongst some the most watched leagues in the world of any sport. And good for us Europeans, what's wrong with playing socially? To be honest i don't like COD4 because it's way too competitive. However i know many people who play days and days on it. Who cares, we play what we want, and what we enjoy, Halo rules! lol Oh, and we dont think FPS's are evil :D Z3R0B4NG - Poor you atleast the UK is more open with it - hopefully one day the German Government will let you play what you want, in all its full glory!

puppiemaster
puppiemaster

No one I know plays sport games, we are all on COD4, but then again we are all adults and not kids.

GodLike500
GodLike500

This statisitcal analysis column sucks. It left out the most important information. How much did FIFA 2008 (or for a better comparison Madden 08 combined with NCAA Football 08 ) sell in the U.S., and what are the totals for casual games in both EU and the U.S.? What the comparison on available casual games in the EU and U.S. markets? if the U.S. has 20 times more casual games available than the EU, the casual games will sell 20 times better in the EU, and the same thing goes with sports games, the U.S. has a big sell on football (american) basketball, and baseball, typically with both professional and college teams. What sports games are available in the EU? Soccer (football) and cricket? I have never even heard of any recent cricket games! This is not a good example of neutral journalism! To Further my point about how much BS this article is, I'd like to site a different news article found on gamespot.com: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6192163.html. This article contains the top 10 video games sold in the U.S. for all time (as of Apr 08 ). It contains 4 sports games (Madden) and only 2 FPS's (COD 4 & Halo 2), so how can they say American's prefer shooters over sports games?

BikerPunk
BikerPunk

interesting. who cares. as long as i dont loose my right to choose if i want to play an epic shooter, i dont care. i understand that other countries may not have the demand that the north americans have in certain genres, but as long as i get to enjoy the games i enjoy, more power to those who may like other ones. we dont all have to play the same games.....variety is a good thing.

Sandrock323
Sandrock323

@monty_4256 If you knew anything about gamers it's that they are very competitive. That said, most US gamers don't care were it is from. If anything it would be that US companies , big surprise..., know how to market their games to gamers in their own country versus gamers in other countries they don't know much about. I know for a fact there are many US gamers who won't play US games because they like Japanese games more. Plus, patriotism only goes as far as supporting the military. Please try not to talk about people you have never met, 5 minutes online dose not count.

salamancecool
salamancecool

Im Irish and I hate sport games and causual games! Sport games are the worst genre!

Z3R0B4NG
Z3R0B4NG

I am german and i loved every single drop of blood in Gears of War! But its true our Government and the Media allready established the name "Killergames" (!) instead of Ego Shooters or First / Third Person Shooter... and they dont know sh1t about it! Everything is censored, there are FSK18 Versions of Paper Mags! We dont get to download the MAP PACKs for Army of Two or Gears of War from the German Xbox Live market place and hey our IPs are banned from US and AT marketplaces too, but only on FSK18 stuff... But on Television they show how peoples Balls get operated, women get raped or just the usual pack of Plasticboobs while my Family sits down to Dinner! The stupid thing about that is i CAN decide what i want to play on MY PC / Console, but i cant decide what runs in Television. I hate the government, i hate the stupid people who vote for them, i hate TV and for a matter of fact i hate children! Without children we could play what we want, how we want, without having to set up VPN Networks in AT to get the stupid GoW Maps!

Z3R0B4NG
Z3R0B4NG

I am german and i loved every single drop of blood in Gears of War! But its true our Government and the Media allready established the name "Killergames" (!) instead of Ego Shooters or First / Third Person Shooter... and they dont know sh1t about it! Everything is censored, there are FSK18 Versions of Paper Mags! We dont get to download the MAP PACKs for Army of Two or Gears of War from the German Xbox Live market place and hey our IPs are banned from US and AT marketplaces too, but only on FSK18 stuff... But on Television they show how peoples Balls get operated, women get raped or just the usual pack of Plasticboobs while my Family sits down to Dinner! The stupid thing about that is i CAN decide what i want to play on MY PC / Console, but i cant decide what runs in Television. I hate the government, i hate the stupid people who vote for them, i hate TV and for a matter of fact i hate children! Without children we could play what we want, how we want, without having to set up VPN Networks in AT to get the stupid GoW Maps!

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

Im not surprised because sense the Wii there has been a sudden demand for casual games and, video game companies are slowly increasing their development of casual games in response. In resent years casual gamers have come to take a back seat to pro-gamers who spend more money on video games; However the lessen is clear developers can make a single game targeted at pro-gamers that may or, may not live up to the hype, or about five casual games that target a larger audience.

NatBat1991
NatBat1991

By European do they mean the UK aswell or just mainland Europe? Because if they mean the UK, everybody I know plays Call Of Duty 4 on their 360 or PS3, we have massive multiplayer battles over GTA IV on LIVE. And to be honest I hate sports games - especially football games, the only sports games I like are, excluding Blood Sport (UT!), golf games :).

JP-
JP-

I never knew this caus i live in holland and i always play shooters like cod 4 halo 3 with my dutch friends almost every teenager in holland has a xbox360 or a ps3 and cod 4 or halo 3 but holland is a small country

Bakahashi
Bakahashi

Let's get one thing straight lol. Us Europeans for the most part do not see shooter games as "evil". But we have a lot of sport in our culture. The majority of young men in Britain like soccer, hence they buy soccer games. As for brain training, that would probably be the older generation. Not to mention the DS being a big seller. Because much like Japan, us Brits love our portable gaming.

Leo_Colt
Leo_Colt

Older consoles? Probably because we are charged twice as much as the rest of the world for the new generation of consoles. Sports games? Ugh, I think most of them are incredibly boring. As far as I'm aware, most people play other genres of games over here. Sports games are usually really saved for when there are large groups of people.

middito
middito

Sports games are Boring!BOO! GO Outside and Play Them! [ps.: or your local community center]

Benno001
Benno001

Fifa is probably only really popular in the Netherlands, and I believe almost 50% of the units go there ;)

Hatefish2
Hatefish2

well, this article is apparently telling me my British friends from halo and gears are imaginary, since Europeans only play FIFA and brain age.

khai411
khai411

@Grantsplace2004 . that fact that you agree with him does not make him right. It's just an opinion you guys share. I grew up in a country where football(soccer) is a major sport. So, as a form of entertainment, I can play the actual sport, watch it on TV or at a stadium or play the sim(video game). These options offer a completely different form of entertainment and don't need to be compared. What would your opinion be on professional sports players who play the sims of their sports?? There is an entertainment/relaxation value in it.

AlecHP234
AlecHP234

First, about Europeans prefering the older consoles to the next-gen consoles. It's obviously not because they prefer the older consoles, but because the newer consoles are expensive. In fact, it's the same thing here in America. Here in the US, like in Europe, the majority have not moved on to next-gen. Like in Europe, it's a problem of money. It's hard for people in both Europe and America to pay for the newer consoles. So when it comes to that, American and Europe are similar. And about Europe prefering sports games: That soccer (football in Europe) game may have sold very well in Europe, and didn't sell well in America, but that's because of the TYPE of sports game. Soccer (football) is not popular in the US like it is in Europe. Over here, football (the american sport. don't know what it's called in European contries) and baseball are much more popular. So instead of seeing FIFA 2008 on the top of the charts, you migh see Madden 2008 here in America. The Madden football games have always sold very well in the United States. Overall though, I do agree that Europeans probably prefer sports games more than Americans, but not significantly more. But it is true that FPSs are not as popular in Europe. There are probably a number a reasons, including some European countries trying their best to censor these games. There'd be a huge uproar in the US about censorship being unconstitutional if the government ever talked seriously about censoring or banning games.

gamehostreviews
gamehostreviews

The Europeans are missing out on a lot of good games. Please!

monty_4256
monty_4256

lol he's an idiot, gamers didn't bother with halo in europe, because the main reason US buy it is because it's the one game that they can feel proud of, because it's their trademark of the only console that's american. europe doesn't care, cos the games not that good. We don't think shooters are evil, but a lot of poorer people live in europe, actually the more easternly you go the more the rich people look like the homeless from the west. So most of the countries in europe don't really have the money for the newer consoles. Meaning they have to get by with PS2's... which isn't a tragedy cos most games on 360 and ps3 are mere extensions of ps2 and xbox games with better graphics and acheivements added on

YoJim8obaJoe
YoJim8obaJoe

Football games suck big hairy ones,it the same thing year in,year out.At least when they do FPS sequels even if the gameplay the same at least the levesl are different

lanista
lanista

Wow. Just wow. Okay, here's my 2p. 1. The article was posted by someone at Gamespot UK and as this is the Gamespot UK website that I'm posting on right here, then yes we obviously know about this site and are much more than casual gamers. 2. "soccer is the sports game of choice in Europe" Umm, no. Football is our game of choice and that applies to South America too. Google FIFA for more info. 3. @Forbes Yes Racing and Football are important, but we buy lots of other things too. I doubt we prefer older consoles, it's just that we have to pay a lot of cash to get the newer ones. For example the base PS3 with no bundled games currently sells for $600 USD here. I travel to work on the train every day and visit London regularly at peak travel time. Some people may listen to MP3 music yes and a few may play a 2 minute game on a mobile phone. But I've never yet seen ANYONE playing a game (long or short) on a handheld console on the way to work. Finally, I've never met anyone in the UK who says that shooters are "evil". Yes 18 rated games need tighter control than at present, but people don't go around making such sweeping statements. In Germany, it's true that they found the original Ninja Gaiden decapitations a bit too much, so because we only get one release for the whole of PAL regfions, all of us in Europe had to go with a modified release with them removed. But those things seem rare - that I've heard about in the UK anyway.

darkheath
darkheath

This is a very general statement. So, of course, there will be some of you Europeans (mainly the ones who would even know about this website) who are huge exceptions to this rule. But I'm betting that it's not too far off-base. Europe has a much longer history of violence and war (present US administration excepted), so something like a WWII sim is probably not as appealing. To US kids, these games have become no more than a harmless game of tag. To the German kid, he may have just killed his grandfather. We are a wildly isolated people who have been desensitized to things like this. We'd rather see a guy's arm shot off than a nipple slip out. It's horrindously backwards if you ask me. That said, though. I'm a big fan of the epic games. Just yesterday I (almost) finished Gears of War. It's a decent game, but highly over-rated if you ask me. I'd give it an "8".

Grantsplace2004
Grantsplace2004

@console-deity said "Casual games are a waste of time and money (they have no substance) sports simulators are also a waste, if you really like football (soccer for all the americans) go play it don't waste resources simulating it." @@khai411 said Wow.. Do humans come any dumber than this?? I think consoledeity has a small point, he was extremely arrogant about it but hes right. Casual games are very poor values for what you get and I personally (my opinion), would rather play a sport than spend 60USD for a simulation of it.

Brodersalsa
Brodersalsa

Give me a break! we europeans dont think shooters are evil! it's the dumbest thing i've ever heard. Why the hell would forbes know anything about gaming in europe?

bulletwaster
bulletwaster

If europeans dont get thier hands on Halo 3, Metal gear solid 4, or crysis, I will feel sorry for them

asimplerapper
asimplerapper

Yeah I also live in the Netherlands and casual gaming is much more popular than more serious ones. But hey, we slightly do have a more hardcore audience at the jaarbeurs in Utrecht!

khai411
khai411

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

khai411
khai411

soccer is the sports game of choice in Europe.. So is American Football in USA.. Show the madden figures and you'll see that.

DamageIncM
DamageIncM

There are many many clans in the EU here, even in The Netherlands where I live, for shooters and other violent games. Maybe it's just that we're sometimes not as up-to-date(?) or maybe we just can't buy as many games here because of the retarded prices? Even though myself I will never ever cough up more than like $30,- for the newest and best games, that's why I'll look online and internationally. And maybe the brain-training thing sold so well is because many kids and even many older people would and have bought that game. Like even my aunt and uncle, even though in their late 30's, asked me about Brain Training and that they would like to buy it together with a DS. Also note, they asked about one of those cards you can download games for and put it on there to play them. You again can see they were not willing to pay $50,-+ for DS-games. Note that I convert all prices equivalent to the prices in The Netherlands with Euros. Maybe we have many casual gamers here, sure, maybe we also don't have many "hardcore" or more serious gamers here. But I know there are many many players, teenagers and somewhat older like me, that love epic games, like shooters and everything similar. Not that I don't love racing and everything like that, together with many other players. But it's not like we don't exist, and especially things should not be banned, that would piss a lot of people off... Games are games, governments are governments, leave us out of it.

Amir29
Amir29

I'm sorry, but in my opinion these numbers don't just show gaming preference. It shows a radical difference in the quality of life when you compare Europe to the US. Casual games appeal more to those who have active and happy lives. It's those people that stop to play with their friends for an hour or two before getting bored and moving on. Someone who doesn't enjoy his environment can use video games like a drug dependency. I'm a hardcore gamer who lives in NYC and I don't mind using myself as an example. After a long day of work, hearing loud traffic and sirens all day, getting on a train and smelling urine saturated platforms, giving up and taking my car only to have confrontations with opportunistic traffic cops, to now barely being able to afford driving due to gas prices... Really... I just want to come home and escape. I shut the lights, blast my speakers, and let the game help me forget about the stresses of my day. Take with my statement what you will. I don't want to continue and start a country bashing conversation. Just pointing out that there maybe be a larger issue here than simply numbers and preference.

steven141
steven141

I don't think this is entirely accurate as in my experience, generally, europeans prefer FPS's but there are a lot of casual gamers that merely go for sports games such as football.

jacksonm560
jacksonm560

forbes is wrong when it comes to me ( UK gamer) i only really play FPS (cod 4 , gears and halo 3) and also RPG games (KOTOR, all Zelda games, oblivion, mass effect, lost odyssey, Bioshock, fable etc) I hardly ever play racing games and haven't owned a fifa game for like 5 years now. also im more of a "hardcore gamer" than a casual gamer and the likes of the WII don't appeal to me

airsoftmanic
airsoftmanic

wow, so im basically the polar opposite of this whole statement. i live in england (Kettering for the well-informed) and i like the games that go on forever and are "hardcore". i love FPS and strategy and i despise sports games. this guy isn't really doing me any favours.

swimbearuk
swimbearuk

This article isn't really very surprising, considering that football (soccer) is a very popular sport in the UK and the rest of Europe. It is obvious that FIFA 08 wouldn't sell in the same quantities in the US, as americans just don't like the sport as much as europeans do. Halo 3 was still a big hit in the UK, but the sales comparisons are probably due to the share of consoles owned rather than the types of game. It would have been better to compare hardcore games vs Casual Games that don't have such a regional bias, such as that caused by exposure to a sport. This will probably give more balanced results.

SpaceMarine1
SpaceMarine1

To be honest lendrahcir, I don't nessacirly think its cause of adult gamers, but kids here in america ARE playing hardcore FPS. While many parents try to stop this, theres just no way.

lendrahcir
lendrahcir

I live in Ireland (that's in Europe for those who didn't know :P ) and personally I prefer FPS's, action games, RPG etc... I haven't bought a sports game since 2000 and the only game that may break this trend will be BackBreaker. most of my friends like the same genre's as me, however some of them do like sports games, but they are a minority. In my opinion the reason for Europe liking the more casual games etc... is the fact we have a younger generation of gamers, mostly children, since I know of not a single adult that plays games. Children obviously shouldn't be playing these hardcore FPS games and parents will stop them. In America I know there is certainly a lot more adult gamers, so that's why I think there is the huge difference. either way, Europe isn't losing out, people play the games they want, if they stop shipping the games to Europe, then we will be losing out.

Warbird5
Warbird5

I live in Austria (Europe) and a lot of my friends, actually my whole school, is only interested in games that include a lot of violence. Also in general I feel Europeans don't differ a lot from Americans specially not when it comes to computer-games. I don't think that all of this is correct because actually, believe it or not, Europeans and Americans don't differ that much from each other and only because some games weren't sold that often on both continents doesn't mean Europeans don't like shooters...

nutzelfutz
nutzelfutz

Interesting - I live in Germany, and so far it seems to be true. The reasons might be different, though. At least over here, it is not possible to buy games like Gears of War, Bioshock and Resident Evil, at least not the uncut versions. As you can see from my profile, I own them (UK imports), but several of them are 'indiziert', meaning it is forbidden to sell, advertise or display them. Even the German-built FarCry and Crysis are forbidden in their uncut glory... So this might be an additional problem for EU gamers - getting the good stuff without having to import or hack it. And then there are companies like SquareEnix and other RPG studios that stubbornly refused to adjust their games to the EU PAL TV norms over the last decade, forcing gamers to bear with cropped, letterboxed and squeezed visuals. And let's not forget awful translations - the reason I refuse to play games (and watch DVDs) in languages other than English and Japanese...any not-too-dumb German should do so instinctively (out of fear, one might say).

Gifted_One
Gifted_One

So what they are trying to say is that the Americans have better game choices than those Europeans who are fast and easy.. lol

chickenselect
chickenselect

@beestigebas if you post on a forum on a gaming website you are obviously not a casual gamer.

MoonMarvel
MoonMarvel

beestigebas millions like sports games, you can't just put on your shoes and go play in EURO 08 now can you? I can't put my shoes on and be Michael Jordan and play in the NBA finals now can I? Thats the point behind sports titles.

beestigebas
beestigebas

I live in europe, but those games mentioned above are so lame. Like a sports game, whats the point of that? Just put you're shoes on and go play outside ... Maybe I'm an exception but give me a good gory fps!