Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands will set the stage for a conference on European video game policy and virtual environments on July 12-13.
The move acknowledges the Islands’ growing status as a hub for digital arts and video games and, alongside economic benefits, a growing recognition of the sector’s cultural influence and its potential for greater integration within a broader creative and cultural ecosystem including film and TV.
This year saw a video-game-based feature, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” punch for the first time ever over $1 billion at the global box office, grossing $1.35 billion worldwide, making it the biggest movie hit of 2023. Based on the video game, HBO’s “The Last of Us” became one of the service’s most critically lauded series of the last decade, while breaking HBO Max viewership records in Europe.
Organised by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport under Spain’s E.U. presidency, the event has the stated aim of “promoting dialogue between European institutions, member states, and the European video game industry, as well as to enhance the cultural and creative value of video games in Europe,”said a Ministry of Culture source.
“For us it is a strong recognition that the Spanish presidency of the E.U. has chosen the Canary Islands for a workshop on E.U. policies for the video game industry,” Pablo Hernández, president of ZEC, told Variety,
The economic heft of the European video game industry is significant, contributing over €23 billion ($25 billion) to the global video game market’s impressive €179 billion ($195 billion) total revenue in 2022. According to forecasts from media and tech research firm Omdia, the total consumer spend across Europe is predicted to grow by 19.6%, reaching a whopping €35.6 billion ($39.1 billion) in 2027.
Alongside these economic benefits, there is a growing recognition of the sector’s cultural and leisure influence. According to Omdia, France’s universe of gamers is far larger than cinema goers in France, even in the 55-64 demography.
The Parliament’s resolution is in no way legally binding but does show which way the winds are now blowing in the E.U. corridors of power.
Over the past year, the European Commission, in coordination with the Ecorys Europe consortium, has facilitated a series of workshops focused on this very subject. The conclusions and report resulting from these workshops will be presented at the conference.
The event is likely to acknowledge the demographic shift in video gaming, with an emphasis on the increased female participation (47.8%) and the youth-dominated player base, wherein more than 70% of young Europeans between 6 and 24 years old are video game users.