PARP report: Poland’s gamedev sector grew by 250% in 5 years

In 2022, the gamedev sector in Poland amounted to €1.3 billion in 2022, according to the third edition of “The Game Industry of Poland” report, released in July 2023, only in English. In addition to describing trends, it details the 190 largest Polish companies in the gamedev sector in Poland in 2022.

There are about 500 game developers and publishers in Poland, employing more than 15,000 people (as of May 2023). The industry releases over 530 new editions annually on over a dozen platforms. Revenues are also growing regularly. Only once did our market record a decline – 8% in 2021.

Not only entertainment but also a carrier of culture

Thanks to exports, the industry’s total revenues have grown 250% over the past five years. However, we are still ahead of highly developed countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Finland and Sweden.

Poles are increasingly beginning to appreciate computer games as a cultural medium. The game “This War of Mine” has already made it to the school reading list to illustrate the horrors of war in a contemporary context. In turn, the release of the game “Invincible,” based on the works of Stanislaw Lem, took place on October 6, 2023. Meanwhile, the Institute of National Remembrance released the highly acclaimed game “Cyphers,” available for free worldwide.

Games are becoming a medium that unites generations, no less important than literature and cinema. However, demand for games ranks us a distant 19th in the world.

From Europe to North America

The critical regions for Polish game sales are North America, Europe and Asia. Each of these three continents accounts for 20-40% of total sales, depending on the title. Overall, the continents of the northern hemisphere account for 75% to 90% of total game sales from Poland. The leading countries where Polish games are popular are the US, China, UK, Germany and France.

Gamers from Europe show great interest in our strategy and simulator titles. In Japan, Polish horror games, particularly on Steam, consoles, and Switch, have achieved unquestionable success. In turn, gamers in South Korea appreciated our strategy games. Other markets that are often considered significant are Brazil, Russia and Turkey. However, given that game prices in these markets are 40-50% lower than in Europe, they typically account for only 2-4% of sales. It is estimated that the share of digital distribution in global sales of Polish games exceeded 85% in 2020 and continues to grow.

– As the Indie Games Poland Foundation, we are particularly proud of the achievements of indie developers. Games such as “Timberborn,” “Against the Storm”, and “Papetura” have won the hearts of gamers around the world, and in addition, “Papetura” was awarded at the Independent Games Festival. Poland, already known worldwide for its high-quality game production, is making its presence felt on the world stage, strengthening the so-called soft power of our country,” said Kuba Wojcik, president of Indie Games Poland.

Game design at universities

The gamedev industry in Poland started to face employment problems in 2022. Not surprisingly, it is increasingly turning to foreigners, who already make up 14.5% of the staff. Maintaining such a growth rate means hiring nearly 2,000 new employees every year. Domestic educational institutions are partly responding to this demand. Almost a quarter of public universities offer at least one gaming-related academic course. The rate is higher within specializations. 40% of technical universities teach game programming, and 43% of art universities teach game design.

If we compare the gamedev education in Poland with the rest of Europe, they are very similar. Interestingly, the educational field that is growing the most is ludology (horror studies), which is the least practical facet of gamedev education. It raises the question of how such a large group of game theorists will cope with the job market. At the same time, it is worth noting that this is the only field of study with no shortage of teaching staff. All other disciplines should have instructors with practical experience, but universities can’t compete with industry salaries.

Exciting changes are taking place in secondary education. It is because of the creation of schools or gamedev classes at the local level. The second reason is the selection of talented students from different regions for after-school educational programs. These initiatives help develop the skills of budding game developers at an early stage of their development. It opens the way for them to find rewarding work in the industry.

Not only AAA games

Of course, the most prominent are the Polish AAA-class games with the highest production and promotion budgets. The first place is occupied by “The Witcher 3: Wild Gon,” which has sold 50 million copies to date! A list of high-budget productions from Poland is completed by:

  • “Dying Light” and “Dying Light 2” from Techland,
  • “Cyberpunk 2077” from CD Projekt RED (25 million copies sold).

The same category includes “Outriders” from People Can Fly, the company’s first AAA game after parting with Epic Games.

AAA productions, however, account for only 27% of those boasting sales of 1 million+ copies worldwide. The report gives a breakdown of such titles for the first time. Among others, there are “60 Seconds,” “Gas Station Simulator,” “House Flipper”, and “Superhot.”

The full report is available for download on the PARP website.

Also, read other posts on the Polish gamedev market:

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