Barcelona rivals San Francisco with a 20% increase in attracting top gaming talent

Barcelona is already positioned as a European and world leader in the gaming sector. There has been a sharp increase in the sector’s number of employees as well as the number of companies that continuously choose the city in which to establish their core business in Europe, rivaling San Francisco. This week, the Californian city hosts key global video game companies at The Game Developers Conference (GDC), the largest event in the industry with 24,000 attendees.  


«Barcelona is home to 40% of the world’s video game companies, ranking as the top region in the European Union in attracting foreign investment to the sector» states Montse Puig, CEO of Barcelona & Partners, Barcelona Global’s investment attraction agency, which focuses on attracting technology companies, innovative initiatives, and impactful talent to Barcelona. 


King, the renowned mobile gaming firm (Candy Crush), has its second largest office in the world in Barcelona, with 600 professionals of more than 45 nationalities; the American company Scopely has strengthened its presence in Barcelona with a technology hub employing 425 people; and the Japanese company Bandai Namco chose Barcelona for its European development and marketing headquarters thanks to the city’s reputation as an important technology hub. 


Barcelona, a hotbed of gaming startups 


Barcelona’s sizeable startup ecosystem accounts for more than 2,000 startups and 7 unicorns, it ranks as the 2nd favourite European hub for founders for setting up a startup. The city has also attracted large multinationals in the sector, such as US-based Activision Blizzard, which acquired the local Digital Legends, and Take-Two, which added Socialpoint to its portfolio. 


Another reason for the city’s leading position in the gaming sector is its access to highly talented professionals, as well as its ability to attract high-impact international talent to the city. Barcelona is the 10th most attractive city in the world for digital talent and 4th in Europe. 31% of the digital talent employed in Barcelona is international, with 11.4% coming from London. 


The gaming industry currently employs more than 4,000 people in the region, a figure that has grown by almost 20% compared to 2020. In addition to these figures, there are 9,262 companies in the creative sector, which, with 145,819 total employees, places Barcelona as the ninth most cultural and creative city in Europe. 


Barcelona region also stands out as the leading region in the European Union in terms of attracting foreign investment in the video games sector. Between 2017 and 2021, it received 20 new foreign investment projects from international video game studios, representing an investment of around 120 million euros and the creation of 900 new jobs.