Skip to main content

A disappointing week for UK game sales. Maybe.

Project Cars 2 makes it to No.2 as it struggles to reach heights of the original… or at least that's what we guess

It probably won't be long before we see the first headline that states how Project Cars 2's UK sales were 74% down compared to the first game.

Much like when we all reported how Destiny 2's UK figures were more than 50% down compared to its predecessor.

Now, it's completely likely that both of those games were down compared to their originals. The market is quite different today, and Destiny 2's audience has evolved. Project Cars 2 launches in a sales period that will see a new Forza, Gran Turismo and Need for Speed. Slightly Mad's racing IP doesn't have the brand recognition of those titles, and it would be a safe assumption that sales might struggle a little.

But it is an assumption. Because in the UK, we're not tracking digital sales, and it's gone beyond a farce.

We know, or at least we think we do, that AAA game downloads are rapidly increasing. EA says so in its financial briefings (it estimates that full game downloads will account for 40% of unit sales this year) and some chap I had dinner with heard that Destiny 2's sales are almost 30% digital.

If this is all true, then what exactly are we reporting? Physical retail sales figures do still matter. In the UK last week over 250,000 units were sold. It's not high compared with previous years, but it's still a huge number of games. And to those working in that boxed world, this information is vital.

But when it comes to how brands are performing, or how the overall market is developing, it's almost an irrelevance. To make matters more heated, I've had several almost-stand up rows with publishers over the reporting of said data. I've been accused (or my peers have) of misrepresenting game sales, but I'm not, they are.

The industry wants to know how things are performing. The consumers do, too. And the best we have (in the UK at least, NPD is doing a decent job in the US) are these physical game sales from GfK.

What makes matters more humiliating is that the the music industry - that old, old entertainment business - does an incredible job of tracking sales. The Official Charts Company even counts streams and radio plays. That business went through a painful digital transition, too, but they did it together.

We're beyond the digital tipping point now. If publishers are worried about upsetting physical retailers over the growth of digital I've got a secret for you... they already know.

Of course, we're a competitive industry. Why should developers and publishers share their secret sauce with its rivals?

Fair enough. In the mean time: Project Cars 2 physical sales are down 74% compared to its predecessor.

Here's UKIE/GfK's weekly Top Ten for the UK games market (physical):

Last Week This Week Title
1 1 Destiny 2
New Entry 2 Project Cars 2
1 3 NBA 2K18
3 4 Pro Evolution Soccer 2018
New Entry 5 Pokken Tournament DX
7 6 Grand Theft Auto V
9 7 Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy
5 8 Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
10 9 Forza Horizon 3
15 10 LEGO Worlds

Read this next

Christopher Dring avatar
Christopher Dring: Chris is a 17-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who
Related topics