Across the Pond: A Head-to-Head Comparison of American and European Gaming
We’d like to think that ever since the end of the American Revolution, relations between the U.S. and Europe have remained fairly civil. Well, maybe civil’s not quite the right word, but at least we can say we’re allies with our European friends from across the pond.
But when it comes to gaming, there’s always been a bit of a disconnection between America and Europe. Certain titles only saw release in one place or the other, specific pieces of hardware and software would make an appearance earlier in one area, and box art had a tendency to vary depending on where it was released; and that started back in the NES days! Well, decades have passed and it’s still the same old song and dance. Guerilla Games’ popular adventure title Horizon: Zero Dawn released a day earlier in the States, Nintendo’s hit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had a slightly different box art image and each respective region received their own style of SNES Classic complete with a slightly altered game list.
So, maybe things aren’t so drastically different anymore. But there’s no arguing that there is still some divergence between the Eastern and Western audiences and the way they play. We’re going to go over a few in this article and see just what separates American gamers from their Euro counterparts.
According to VGChartz.com, Europe cares a lot more about the PS4 than the highly successful Nintendo Switch as it’s reported that in the week of the 28th in October, Europeans accounted for more than 128,000 PS4 sales compared to America which was just shy of 56,000 units sold. On the flipside, North Americans bought nearly 106,000 Switches where Europe didn’t even manage to sell 75,000.
This comes as no surprise when we see that seven of the top ten best-selling games in Europe in the week of October 21st were PS4 versions of the popular titles. America only had six PS4 titles on their top ten with one of the remaining four being a Nintendo Switch title. Now, if we look back a decade in 2007, we can see the opposite of those stats where seven of Europe’s top titles for the week were Nintendo products and America claimed a measly three. Interestingly, only three PlayStation titles were on both of the regions’ top ten lists with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 making an appearance five times on the American chart and once on the European.
If we check out stats in the tournament sector of gaming, we can see some stark differences yet again. One of Florida’s very own video game tournaments, CEO, had 2,493 attendees. Compare this to one of Europe’s biggest fighting game tournament’s, Dreamhack, in Sweden, which only managed to bring in 542 attendees according to smash.gg, a fighting game tournament compilation site.
However, a few considerations must be made before we can truly understand the numbers. Florida has a much larger population than Sweden as it has 9.9 million residents compared to Florida’s 20.61 million. Despite doubling the European country’s population, CEO still quadrupled the amount of attendees at Dreamhack. If we delve even further into the tournaments, we’ll see that the Super Smash Bros. Melee competition in Sweden had 90 entrants compared to the same game in Florida that pulled in 292 entrants. It’s not quite as much of a difference when compared to the tournament as a whole, but still seems to suggest that in America, we have a few more serious players taking on tournaments.
These differences even go all the way down to iGaming and the design of online casinos from one country to the next. For example, the British online casino 32Red shows many of its games and genres to the player on its homepage, from I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Ff Here or Jurassic Park slot machines to live casino games such as baccarat or Speed Roulette. It seems the site wants to show off what it has to offer right from the start. On the other hand, American casinos like Grande Vegas and Miami Club only show a few titles upfront – for example only 3 slot titles feature are showcased on Miami Club’s homepage. Perhaps the mysterious ploy works better on the American crowd or 32Red just likes to show off; either way it seems the sites adjust their presentation to match their country’s audience much the same way that Breath of the Wild box art was more colorful in the European box art and even showed Link’s face.
Perhaps as time goes on sports games (most notably soccer and rugby titles) will overtake fighting and shooting games as the number one tournament genre causing eSports to evolve. Before long we could see the biggest eSports tournaments in the world being held in France or Great Britain with FIFA and Rugby League Live being the main attraction. Until then we’ll just have to settle for the violent games made most popular thanks to the American crowd. You won’t see us complaining.
photo credits: All photos under creative commons license and free to use
Top Photo: Source- Game Memes via Facebook
Middle Photo: Source- Video Game Memes via Facebook
Bottom Photo: Source- Sanefox via Facebook