Paris Games Week 2018 – Face of French (European?) Gaming
Paris Games Week is the highlight of French gaming, and it’s one of the biggest events in Europe. We visited to observe the market and the culture from an “outside” position, and discover the latest gaming buzz from the City of Light.
The first Paris Games Week took place in 2010. Since then, this has been an annual event – at the end of October and beginning of November, thousands of gamers gather to play games, try out powerful devices, find new friends, enjoy Esports competitions, and just have fun in many possible ways.
In 2018, 350 000 people visited Paris Games Week! The biggest world gaming companies had areas here, proposing all sorts of exciting activities.
French gamers. European gamers
Who are they, visitors of PGW?
- Young children that came to the event with their parents and elder siblings. The trade fair was surprisingly full of youngsters, amazed by wonderful miracles of gaming virtuality. There was a special section for these gamers, mostly with game consoles and adapted games.
- Teenagers that know gaming perfectly well. They have quite settled preferences for games and devices, but still, they are totally open to new experiences, for new virtual adventures. These gamers are the basis for the whole industry, and PGW is not an exception.
- People up to 25-30 years old. Often, the interest in games fades away when adult responsibilities catch the mind of a grown-up gamer. Still, PGW proves that this isn’t entirely true for European gamers. Lots and lots of PGW visitors were of this age group. They were paying attention to almost all the areas and sections. In the eyes of the industry, such gamers are the best audience – they still are powerfully motivated and already have their own funds to pay for games and equipment.
- People over 30. These gamers came mostly with their children, opening the wonders of gaming for younger generations. Not so many of such visitors are interested in games themselves, but there were exceptions.
Gaming companies at PGW
The French gaming market is filled with world-famous brands with just a few strictly local companies. Here are some of the most prominent gaming companies at PGW 2018:
Nintendo played its best cards here. The area of this company was located right in front of the central entrance. It was almost impossible to miss bright posters of the newest Pokémon and Super Smash Bros. games, of Mario Kart 8 and Tennis Aces, of Splatoon 2, Taiko no Tatsujin, and many third-party games, released for Nintendo Switch.
PlayStation traditionally was very powerful at PGW. The company had a huge area in the main hall, with zones for playing Spider-Man, Call of Duty, PS VR games, Dreams, Concrete Genie, and of course FIFA 19. Paris Games Week held an official Esports tournament in the FIFA discipline, and there was a major buzz around this event.
PlayStation gathered lots of attention by special events on the scene and by giving small and pleasant gifts (such as unique PlayStation caps and bags). This company is very comfortable on the European market – it has developed a nice community of gamers.
Xbox had a big area too, but it was significantly less noticeable than its direct competitors. Some gamers, impressed by a beautiful sports car at the Forza Horizon 4 section, were eager to try this newest racing game but found its old demo version from E3 (the release was on October 2).
Others played Minecraft, NBA 2K19, and some other games, but the very spirit here demonstrated how Xbox One is weaker in comparison to PS4 and even Nintendo Switch. One of the most interesting games was Ori and the Will of the Wisps, planned for release in 2019. This is a charming platformer, and this genre doesn’t allow it to jump to the level of huge multiplayer shooting games.
Epic Games with its mega-popular game Fortnite put on a great entertainment area for children with not only virtual but also various real adventures. It was rather surprising, how one only game attracts almost the same portion of gamers’ attention as manufacturers of consoles and publishers of many AAA titles. Fortnite promo activities were definitely dedicated to younger gamers.
PUBG Corporation took steps towards Esports competitions and organized a very unusual area for playing PUBG matches. Placing extra monitors to see the faces of players is one of the most innovative decisions at this PGW.
Ubisoft is a French company, so its desire to be the best in Paris is absolutely understandable. Visitors could participate in Just Dance 2019 playing sessions, enjoy Rainbow Six Siege Esports competitions, fight in the games Brawlhalla and For Honor: Marching Fire, and try motorbike races of Trials Rising.
Square Enix was also nicely presented at PGW 2018, popularizing Kingdom Hearts III, Final Fantasy and Life is Strange franchises.
Area of Bandai Namco Entertainment was a place to play Dragon Ball FighterZ, Soulcalibur VI, and Jump Force.
ESL and ESWS were responsible for big Esports competitions at PGW 2018: in the Hearthstone, CS:GO, Clash Royale, and Rocket League disciplines.
Games at PGW
Most gaming trade events give the opportunity to play the newest games, many of which are upcoming titles. Gamers’ attention is an excellent indicator of potential success.
Let’s have a look at the most popular game titles among visitors of PGW 2018!
- Fortnite is definitely a leader on the French and European gaming market. Visitors of PGW 2018 played it not only at the specialized area but almost everywhere on available computers.
- PUBG, as a Battle Royale leader, also has a strong audience. Still, it was significantly smaller than Fortnite. The game was positioned as a serious Esports discipline.
- FIFA 19 – if there are such events as FIFA Continental Cup on a gaming trade fair, you might be sure that this game will gather lots of fans. A massive section in the PlayStation area was dedicated to FIFA 19.
- Super Smash Bros. and Brawlhalla are fighting games with very similar gameplay. The first one is vastly promoted by Nintendo – it’s an upcoming title, so we have lots of fuss around Super Smash Bros. Brawlhalla has quite a strong position in France, because it’s a Ubisoft product, and it’s free on Steam, PS Store, and Nintendo eShop.
- Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee – these are not only upcoming Pokémon games for Nintendo Switch but also a reboot of the whole series and an adaptation of the super popular mobile game Pokémon Go. It was quite natural to see lots of people wanting to try the gameplay.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – this recently released shooter is from a famous series, and it offers the newest Battle Royale mode, called Blackout.
- Spider-Man – this is one of the most popular games of 2018. Adventures of Spidy got super favorable reviews, and many PGW visitors wanted to check the real level of the game.
- Darksiders III – the battle mission of Fury will be available worldwide a bit later in November, so playing this hack and slash adventure even before its release was an exceptional opportunity.
- For Honor – Ubisoft is trying to spread this title all over the gaming world. PGW 2018 gave a chance to try the newest update Marching Fire.
- Rainbow Six Siege – this team-based shooter is one of the mightiest competitors of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. This is also a product of Ubisoft, that’s why CS:GO had almost no chances at PGW. Still, Rainbow Six Siege was present mostly on the Esports area – the game isn’t super new and wasn’t popular in playing areas.
- Dragon Ball FighterZ – this fighting game was recently released for Nintendo Switch consoles, so gamers were eager to try the version for these devices.
- Kingdom Hearts III – an upcoming game, unavailable for playing outside gaming events. Mostly because of this, the adventures of Disney and Final Fantasy heroes got lots of attention from PGW gamers.
- Call of Cthulhu – this horror game was released in October 2018. It was a brilliant part in the area of games, made in France.
- Metro Exodus – gamers got a chance to play this anticipated FPS, a continuation of the popular series.
Gaming devices at PGW 2018
Game consoles vs. computers – what’s the situation in France and Europe? Which console brands do French and European gamers prefer? What about mobile gaming?
PlayStation 4 dominates other devices. These consoles were in many areas of PGW, not only in the specialized PlayStation section. Nintendo Switch was surprisingly powerful too. Many visitors just wanted to try this console.
Xbox One wasn’t very popular at PGW, but the position of Microsoft’s device is still quite significant on the market.
Gaming computers in Europe are moving towards the highest levels of specifications. These are not ordinary devices but super powerful machines, a kind of technical monsters. They were presented by different companies and attracted the same attention as game consoles did.
There were just a couple of sections to play on mobile devices at PGW 2018. Portable consoles also suffer on the market. Only a few Nintendo 2DS XL consoles were available in the area for junior gamers.
Even Nintendo Switch in its portable form turned out to be less popular than in its form of home console. Still, this doesn’t prove problems with mobile gaming – many European gamers have decent smartphones and don’t need any special events to play on them.
Two more aspects of PGW 2018 are worth mentioning:
- Retrogaming area was very popular among visitors. People enjoyed classic consoles in their original form. The trend of retrogaming is proved!
- Indie games had their rather small corner, but some titles get the support of console brands.
Paris Games Week 2018 was a whirlwind event at the heart of the French and European gaming market. People are interested in games, in competitions, and in souvenirs.
Memorable items become an integral part of the gaming culture, and they exist not only in reality (like caps and figures from PGW) but also in the virtuality (like items on DMarket).
At PGW 2018, it was possible to buy real copies of CS:GO knives.
Paris is well known for its cultural impact on our civilization. Thanks to PGW, this city has the potential to become the capital of European gaming culture!