New research carried out by analysts Nielsen Games has shown the true extent of the popularity of video games across the world.
Videogamers in Europe 2008 reveals that the European Union is now the second largest video gaming territory in the world, generating E7.3 billion during 2007, compared with E7.4 billion in Asia and E6.9 billion in the US.
This also reflects in the year on figures with UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia enjoying an average 25 per cent growth in software sales.
The people playing the games are growing up, too, with the UK now boasting the most mature players. The average age of a gamer in the UK is now 33 - the highest out of all the territories surveyed.
In Finland they are, on average, 30, while in Spain they are 26. British parents are also regularly taking the controllers to play.
The research also shows that video games are leading the way when it comes to other forms of entertainment, too. Of those polled, 72 per cent see gaming as 'a fun way to spend time', compared to 68 per cent for cinema and TV. Some 57 per cent thought that gaming 'stimulates imagination' (48 per cent for movies and 35 per cent for watching TV), while 42 per cent of respondents stated that gaming keeps you fit mentally, compared with 25 per cent for movies and 26 per cent for watching TV.
"This research confirms what the industry has realised for a long time: gaming is now enjoyed by an incredibly diverse audience," said Michael Rawlinson, MD of video games trade body ELSPA. "The fact that gamers are growing up and enjoying gaming with their children illustrates the enduring nature of the medium.
"It's fair to say that, compared to other forms of entertainment, games are doing well."
For more news on the video games market, head to Licensing.biz sister site MCVUK.com.