“Zelda”, “Hogwarts Legacy” and “EA Sports FC”, video game sales champions in France in 2023

After a slight decline in 2022, video game turnover in France sets a new record

“Zelda”, “Hogwarts Legacy” and “EA Sports FC”, video game sales champions in France in 2023

After a slight decline in 2022, video game turnover in France sets a new record. In 2023, the leading cultural industry generated nearly 6.1 billion euros in the country, an increase of 9.9% compared to the previous year, according to the annual report of the Union of Leisure Software Publishers (SELL), published Wednesday, March 20.

“This remarkable performance, achieved in an unfavorable macroeconomic context – due to high inflation – today establishes France as one of the most dynamic markets in Europe,” said James Rebours, president of SELL. The craze has not subsided after the prosperous years of 2020 and 2021 during which, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the French made a lot of use of video games. But this good news also contrasts with the serial announcements of thousands of layoffs in the industry on an international scale.

In France, consoles are the driving force of the video game sector. The turnover of this specific market (games, consoles and accessories combined) is more than 3.1 billion euros, an increase of 24% compared to 2022. Sales of consoles themselves have experienced a increase of 72% in one year, for more than a billion euros in turnover. An unsurprising catch-up, given that previous years were marked by component shortages leading to the absence of new generation consoles (Xbox Series and PlayStation 5) from shelves.

Mobile gaming applications are not experiencing the crisis either. They generated a cumulative turnover of almost 1.5 billion euros, an increase of 4.8% compared to 2022. The PC video game ecosystem reached 1.4 billion euros but recorded an annual decline of 8.5%.

Stadium lawns or Hyrule plains

For the tenth year in a row, Electronic Arts' football simulation, EA Sports FC 24 (formerly known as FIFA), is the sales leader in France with nearly 1.5 million copies sold . It is followed by Hogwarts Legacy: Hogwarts Legacy (1.1 million units), The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (over 970,000 units) and Super Mario Bros. Wonder (over 750,000 units).

But the number of copies sold of these last two titles is underestimated. Because unlike its competitors, the Japanese manufacturer Nintendo does not communicate the dematerialized sales of its games. However, on consoles, entire downloaded games – that is to say which are not extensions or scalable online games – represent 65% of sales (more than 1.1 billion euros in 2024).

The distribution between physical and dematerialized sales, however, poses no calculation problem on PC: boxed games are a species that has almost disappeared, 99% of titles sold for these machines are downloaded. Diablo IV is at the top of the 2023 sales rankings in this sector. Blizzard's title has accumulated 314,000 units sold, compared to more than 186,000 for Hogwarts Legacy, 145,000 for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III and more than 115,000 for Grand Theft Auto V, which displays extraordinary longevity ten years later its exit.

“Baldur’s Gate III” Sales Secret Kept

One title, however, is conspicuous by its absence in this ranking: Baldur's Gate III, from Larian Studios, which won most of the best game of the year 2023 awards – the latest being the Pegasus for best foreign game, on March 7 . The Belgian studio behind this phenomenally successful role-playing game, derived from the Dungeons role-playing game

For its part, with its free games model, the mobile sector does not have a real sales leader. Only the most downloaded gaming applications are known: Monopoly Go in the lead, followed by Royal Match and Roblox. This ranking does not, however, reflect the most lucrative games – publishers are currently avoiding communicating on revenues from microtransactions through which the majority of smartphone titles are monetized.

In this avalanche of good news communicated by industry representatives, one poor performance is notable: subscription gaming (Microsoft's Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, Nintendo Switch Online or Ubisoft Connect) is experiencing a significant decline of almost 40% off on console and PC. However, such subscriptions only have a very small share in the sector's turnover since they represent only 1.6%, or around 161 million euros. In video games, the fear of seeing the arrival of a subscription service with the power equivalent to that of Netflix in the audiovisual sector is not yet current.