New data from The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) has revealed that the UK video game market grew 10% in 2018 and is now worth a record £5.7bn.
Software revenues surpassed £4bn for the first time in history and were up 10.3% on 2017 to £4.01bn. According to Ukie, £2.01bn of all software revenues came from digital and online revenues, which include full game downloads, DLC and in-game microtransactions.
That’s an increase of 20.3% compared to the previous year, and the success of popular battle royale games, such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite have helped massively to drive software revenues up. The mobile gaming market also saw a rise of 8.2%, bringing in a further£1.17bn.
Unsurprisingly, physical revenues have continued to decline, although sales have remained fairly steady over the past year. A drop of just -2.6%, however, has seen revenues from physical sales fall to £770m.
The pre-owned game market saw the biggest drop, with sales falling by 30.8% to just £67.9m. One of the reasons for this fall is the increase in the digital free-to-play market, as well as the increase in digital sales which can’t be resold, unlike physical copies.
However, the game hardware market experienced growth of 10.7% and saw revenues increase to £1.57bn, with console sales accounting for £702m, a rise of 6.5%. One of the biggest risers though was in the PC game hardware market where sales continued to grow, up 18.4% to £445m. The peripherals and accessories market also saw sales increase to £355m, an increase of 19.9%. 2018 was not a good year for VR though, with sales dropping more than 20% to just £72m.
The rest of the UK’s video game market includes gaming-related toys and merchandise, print media, as well as game-related films and music.
Sales of gaming-themed toys and merchandise fell 23.7% to just £59.3m, with the closure of Toys-R-Us said to have had a detrimental impact on related sales. Print media also fell but only by 1.3% to £17.8m, while game-related films and music saw their combined revenues rise by 34% to £23.6m. The box office successes of Tomb Raider and Rampage positively influenced revenues. Finally, ticket sales for UK games events rose 5.5% to £8.9m.