Despite the government-sponsored backlash against them, new data shows that Germany has surpassed the U.K. to become the top videogame market in Europe. (UPDATE: It turns out that data was incorrect and Germany, sadly, is still a bridesmaid.)
It seems a bit incongruous at first glance: Germany is generally seen as vaguely hostile toward videogames thanks in large part to strict rules regarding game content and, more recently, government efforts to ban violent videogames outright. Yet according to figures compiled by Media Control GfK International, it is now Europe's largest market for videogame sales.
The report comes on the heels of news that Germany is also the top DLC consumer in Europe, so while it might not be entirely surprising it's not exactly good news, either; Germany only moved into the top spot because year-over-year videogame sales in the U.K. took a precipitous 20 percent tumble in the first half of 2009. The Media Control report says the decline in sales is "mostly due to a lack of new-released blockbuster games in the U.K. in 2009." The best-selling game in both countries for the first half of the year was Nintendo's Wii Fit.
The biggest sales growth in Europe actually took place in Portugal, which enjoyed a 16 percent increase in sales volume, while the Swedish market grew by four percent and the Netherlands saw growth of 2.4 percent.
UPDATE: Wrong! It's unclear what exactly happened but the U.K.-based GfK Chart-Track has contacted GamesIndustry to say that the original press release, despite being confirmed in a follow-up, was written with "incorrect data," and that Germany is not a bigger videogame market than the U.K. after all. What is clear, however, is that this is the second time GfK has dropped the ball over the past two weeks, as previous data relating to sales figures in the U.K. were also brought into question by Nintendo.