Aug. 15 - Europe's biggest gaming fair is getting underway in Cologne, Germany amid talk of changing habits and shifting platforms. Matt Cowan reports.
The video games industry has undergone a massive amount of upheaval in recent years, and the talk at this year's Gamescom conference in Cologne Germany suggests that's likely to continue. Electronic Arts says it expects revenue from digital downloads of its games to overtake sales of boxed game software within a few years and is focussing on expanding its array of mobile and free-to-play products. The editor of Gamestar Magazine Michael Graf say that reflects the wider trend. SOUNDBITE: EDITOR IN CHIEF OF TRADE MAGAZINE GAMESTAR, MICHAEL GRAF, SAYING (German) : "We see three big trends this year here at the gamescom. That is first of all 'mobile gaming' which are games for the mobile phones, for smartphones. There is 'free to play' which are free games that you can play via the internet. And there are 'browser games', also games that can be played via the internet. Those are the three big trends this year." According to IHS Screen Digest 36 percent of the 11 billion euros spent on games in Europe throughout 2011 came in mobile and digital channels. A researcher for the firms predicts that will rise to 44 percent this year. Researchers at NPD Group estimate that U.S. sales of boxed games dropped 20 percent in July. Like the games themselves, the action in the games market is fast and increasingly unpredictable. Matt Cowan, Reuters