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2009 second strongest year on record for UK industry

Market tops £3.3 billion with software sales at £1.6 billion; PS3 and 360 see growth, but overall sales down on last year

2009 has been the second strongest year on record for the UK games industry, according to Chart-Track figures for the year.

Total software sales amounted to GBP 1.621 billion for the year - a decrease from GBP 1.905 billion in 2008 but still a strong performance indicative of a maturing market, according to ELSPA director general Mike Rawlinson.

UK consumers spent a total of GBP 3.311 billion on videogame product during the year - down from GBP 4.034 billion in 2008 - while console hardware revenue amounted to GBP 1.06 billion, a drop from GBP 1.422 billion. However the results were still positive, said Rawlinson.

"We cannot forget that 2009 saw the UK economy in the grip of one of the most severe recessions of recent times, which has naturally impacted on the entertainment industry," he said. "It is not surprising that the UK videogames industry has weathered the economic storm so well as games represent great value for money.

"The UK videogames market is maturing – we are not seeing such explosive growth as in 2008, a sure sign that the market is coming of age. Consumers are shopping smarter and gaming is becoming more widespread across all demographics – this is demonstrated by the fact that a videogame (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2) topped the Amazon best-sellers chart for the first time in 2009.

"Thanks to continued innovation from games publishers and developers, opening up new types of games and gaming methods, more and more consumers are becoming gamers and the industry is reaching new audiences."

The Wii sold the most software units in 2009 with sales of over 18 million. However it was the Xbox 360 that saw the biggest increase in software revenue, up four per cent from 2008 to earn GBP 459 million, and became the number one software format by revenue - surpassing the Wii.

Units of PlayStation 3 software sold were up by 14 per cent on last year, from 10.4 million to 11.9 million.

Overall, consumers bought a total of 74.6 million games, working out as more than one per person in the UK.

In terms of hardware, the PlayStation 3 showed the highest growth, posting a two per cent increase in units sold compared to last year. The Wii though retained its lead as the best selling console.

In total, 6.7 million videogame consoles were sold in the UK throughout 2009.

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