Welcome to Gaming Around the World, our series on gaming cultures in different countries around the globe. To start, we’re going to take a look at Ireland, where the market is growing year on year, with a little help from MoGi Group, of course!
In the beginning, the game industry reached Ireland through manufacturing plants set up by some of the big console and game publishers. This started with game industry pioneers Atari, who opened a manufacturing plant in Tipperary, creating many jobs and making news headlines around the country. Over the following decades, they were followed by Namco, Microsoft, and Apple, bringing Ireland into a new age of technology.
Then, the video game retailers arrived, namely HMV and Smyths. The first Irish development company to be opened was Emerald Software in 1988. Emerald went on to develop Vigilante, the video game adaptation of the Running Man, and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. From there, the Irish games industry grew rapidly, bringing us to today, when many, many more development studios have set up their homes in Ireland.
“It was the Celtic Tiger that really opened the door for studios to start up,” says one of MoGi’s Irish gamers. “It made companies all over the world take notice of Ireland. Companies like Blizzard, EA, and Bioware all came over, creating hundreds of jobs. I think it was the first time the Irish people saw that video games were here to stay. That led to more people studying programming and creating their own indie studios. I remember playing Onikira: Demon Killer, and being really proud that it was made by an Irish team.”
As the industry continues to grow, Ireland is seen as a hub of creativity. For example, Curtain by Llaura McGee is a genre-twisting First-Person Narrative Adventure which won the Most Amazing Game Grand Prize at the Amaze Festival in Berlin. It really highlights the ability of Irish developers to think outside the box in an industry that, all too often, prefers to play it safe.
So, what about the gamers of Ireland? Well, the population spent a total of €206 million on video games and consoles in the last 12 months. For a country with a population of less than 5 million, that’s a huge amount. Just to put that into perspective, Portugal has a population of 10.3 million, but spent roughly the same amount on video games as the Irish population. That really shows just how much the Irish love gaming!
But what do they like to play? Well, it seems like the Irish are a competitive bunch, as the most popular games have multiplayer options, both offline and online. FIFA is the most-played game, closely followed by the likes of Call of Duty, GTA V, and Minecraft.
Perhaps the most interesting statistics are how balanced gaming is among the sexes. The amount of men and women who play games is an almost completely even 50/50. Casual gaming has also found a fanbase across all age groups, leading to people over 55 making up a whopping 18% of all gamers over 18.
These stats point to how Ireland feels about its gaming. It’s popular among both genders, all regions, and all ages. And that’s why Ireland continues to be such an influential emerging market in the gaming industry, and why MoGi performs so many of its video game localization, translation, and player support services out of Dublin. Ireland has become one of the major players in the gaming industry, and its stature is only going to grow.