Russia to Become the Third Biggest European Market for Video Games

SuperData and Wargaming have published a detailed report today on the current state and development prospects of the gaming market in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

According to the report, the CIS region has a number of notable distinctions, which primarily relate to how much money gamers spend on video games. The average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) and average revenue per user (ARPU) are three times lower in the CIS compared to North America, Western Europe and Asia within Wargaming’s gaming portfolio.


As a key state in the CIS region, Russia was the fourth-biggest video games market across Europe, contributing 8% ($1.7B) of the total revenue in 2018. This year, a drop in market activity is expected in most European countries due to a smaller number of premium game releases compared to previous years. However, it is projected that the Russian video game market size will increase by 57% throughout the year, which will allow this market to surpass France and become the third biggest video game market across Europe. This growth is attributed to a thriving mobile gaming segment, which skyrocketed 51% from $372M in 2017 to $561M in 2018.

Personal computers remain the most popular gaming platform in Russia despite the active growth of the mobile segment. In 2018, PC had an average of 79M active users per month and in 2019 this figure will further increase by 3%. Such a vast audience of PC gamers translates into the fact that almost half of Russia’s total digital games revenue (45%) comes from free-to-play PC games. This is in sharp contrast to the overall European games market, where only 20% of the total digital revenue comes from free-to-play PC games.

According to the report, esports is another underdeveloped and rapidly-growing segment. In Russia, almost two-thirds of gamers (64%) watch gaming video content (GVC). Esports in Russia primarily revolve around popular titles like Dota 2 and CS:GO, where eight out of the 10 top channels primarily focus on streaming content for these games. On Twitch alone, the top 10 Russian language channels accumulated over 165M hours watched in 2018. Authors of the report also believe that developers and publishers of competitive and multiplayer titles should consider a localized GVC strategy that is centered on leveraging the reach of popular competitive streamers in Russia like Stray228, SilverName or DreadzTV.

Russia is currently an attractive market for international video game publishers. To achieve success in the region, publishers should be aware of local players’ preferences.

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