Total UK boxed game sales down 13% in 2011

Sales of £2.520 billion in another year of decline

Sales of boxed product in the UK - video game consoles, accessories and software - continued to decline in 2011, falling another 13 per cent to £2.520 billion, compared to £2.875 billion the previous year.

Entertainment software, PC and console game sales dropped 7 per cent to £1.43 billion, with 51 per cent of annual sales generated in the fourth quarter - Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 generated £83 million in its first week alone.

Console software sales amounted to £1.35 billion during the 12 months, with growth coming from Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's 3DS. Console hardware sales generated £646 million.

The decline of boxed product is no surprise, with sales falling dramatically over the past four years, but the figures released by UKIE once again do not include any mobile, DLC, social or second-hand data.

Accessories for PC and console games were down 17 per cent to £454 million, with motion control devices making up 27 per cent of revenue.

Despite the falls, UKIE was as optimistic as it was last year, pointing out that the decline wasn't as bad as anticipated.

"In a year when overall consumer spending was down, 2011 proved to be a better than expected year for the UK's boxed-product games market," offered UKIE chairmand Andy Payne.

"Helped by the launch of many top quality titles, particularly in quarter four, total software sales of £1.42bn was better than many predicted"

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Latest comments (14)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
Yet far more people are playing games far more than ever before.

The play time and thus the spend has switched from boxed product to Facebook and smartphones.
Smartphone app revenues exploded during the year. It is a booming industry.
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Luke Salvoni Senior iOS Developer 6 years ago
It's a shame that this day in age, they're still not including mobile/DLC data at least - I guess that's mainly down to Apple and Valve (for example) for not sharing their data.
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Matt Martin Editor, GamesIndustry.biz6 years ago
It's a shame UKIE can't/doesn't include digital sales in this, seems to be doing them a disservice. I don’t expect the digital charts UKIE/ELSPA has been on about for years will ever come to fruition.
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Show all comments (14)
It's a shame that this day in age, they're still not including mobile/DLC data at least - I guess that's mainly down to Apple and Valve (for example) for not sharing their data.

They are just too slow, these sources should have been in last year if not the year before. That is where the growth is. I bet if you added them in then the total would be a growth year. What misleading figures.
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Simon Cowley Sales Manager Europe, NCsoft West6 years ago
It's not really misleading, they're comparing boxed sales to boxed sales.

However I agree that a true value of the market is needed and UKIE IS working very hard to make the digital chart happen and that will give us a better market picture. Problem is that the borders between games/apps/ facebook games are fairly blurred and personally I'm not sure how I feel about comparing sales of Angry Birds to the likes of Gears of War or Uncharted.

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"The play time and thus the spend has switched from boxed product to Facebook and smartphones.
Smartphone app revenues exploded during the year. It is a booming industry. "

Actually, we do not have anecdotal proof of that. We can more accurately say that yes, people are entertaining themselves and that it may range from light entertainment to more robust bums glued to the floor/seat (for days).

We do not know if its a larger shift to mobiles or tablets or whatnot.
We can speculate it involved a range of alternative platforms. And it doesnt necessarily mean facebook or smartphones.

Lastly, we only know that there is increased growth in the digital, and portable devices segment. We cannot however say its booming or surpassing or better than the traditional game format. All and all its too early to decry or say anything yet. No one has a crystal ball and 2012 will definitely surprise the technology platforms, supporters and users.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
Online can't be accurately measured.
The servers are global, the IP owners and publishers are global.
I can't see the Chinese MMORPG brigade having anything to do with contributing data, for instance. And they are quite substantial.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
@Dr. Chee Ming Wong
The fact that Zynga just raised $1 billion in an IPO is all the proof you need.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
@ Bruce

And most business analysts have been saying for the past year that another dot com boom-and-bust is coming towards us. Zynga's IPO proves nothing, I would say.

As for your other point "Online can't be accurately measured." Some of it can, some of it can't. Sales data from Direct2Drive, GMG, GOG, Origin, Steam and GameStop/Impulse exists. It's just it's not shared with anyone outside of the developer/publisher of the game that's being sold. This is how we know that Super Meat Boy and Bastion sold so many copies. But, yes, online playtime is a harder beast to track. That said, though, some countries shouldn't be too hard to pull stats from... Korea and SC2, for example.

Also, once more, a plea to get the Edit function fixed. I just found it easier to delete and repost a comment, that double-post.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London6 years ago
Bruce - "The fact that Zynga just raised $1 billion in an IPO is all the proof you need"
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@ Bruce

I get it you're really excited about the field you're working within. Its just that, it isnt the best slice of toast that everyone should dive into. And if they do, better get a second and third parachute should the gaming warfield change at a moments notice.

There are many things I would probably want to say about the whole IPO biz, but the short version is Zyngas IPO is/was a mess and ill advised.

The stock is only really worth $6.50 - 7.00
Its one of the few IPOs that launched negatively. And this is all due to the hyper inflated evaluation of itself, and I pity the investors who ploughed in money from day one. This is not to say it is not moderately successful, but the fact is the old zynga FB appraoch to monetization is losing steam (of recycling existing users onto new titles). The frontier has changed again for FB related games - and one approach is for better quality games (which dont require spamming loads of friends to help one proceed in a farming game - where farming is concerned. Its just such a big turn off)

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Tony Johns6 years ago
Even though I am at university and have less time to game as I used to, I still buy my games boxed and just do my part, even though I am only in Australia and my figures are not on this data because I am from another continent.

But still, with all the financial stress of life, I still try to do my part as I have always had these last 5 years.

this year in 2012 may be my final year of buying games because I won't get the next gen systems and my goals are trying to get though university so I could someday make games.

But there will be a need for the future generation of gamers who could afford to keep on buying boxed games, the people aged around their 15s and 20s who are starting to come out of high school and going to inherit money by the time they are 18 will be the ones that will need to do the batting for our industry before the time comes to them to think about personal financial goals like a house and car and even university if they plan to spend 5 years after school trying to get a job as well as enjoying themselves.

because once when you finish university and start getting a REAL job, you will be doing that for a long time and the financial pressures of life like a relationship and a family start to build up and by that time many gamers won't have time to afford games like they used to.

So it becomes a need to just buy the games that you really REALLY want.

Sadly for me the games I really REALLY want only seem to come out to Japan and nowhere else, so it is in those situations where import gaming will be the only thing I do after I finish university and try to import some retro games hopefully on the PS Vita when that becomes cheaper and I find a way to import PV Vita games online.

Of course that will do nothing to help the boxed games at retail, but I have had a good run these last 5 years and did my part accross all platforms. Somebody in the next gen has to pick up the slack if they can afford to.
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James Ingrams Writer 6 years ago
Whenever these figures come out the talk is always about on-line sales. Nobody wants to talk about what becomes of a gaming industry with no video game stores, no games departments in departmental stores and for many gamers, the end of gaming, as they will not be willing to check the web everyday to keep up to date and basically try to keep up with disparate information, rather than just going to their local store every week.

It would also leave just a few big publishers who, with less competition, would undoubtedly produce games with less gameplay for a higher price, leading to a downward spiral.

The success of, selling predominately pre-2003 PC games should be seen as a warning. As PC games releases have been less and less, with many genres like Adventures and Sims gone, PC gamers have shown more willing to play older games rather than buy the dumbed down "multiformat" new games. It wouldn't take much for console gamers to go down the same road - if retail sales disappear.

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Ove Larsen6 years ago
Console side, PSN and Live digital downloads should have made an impact on boxed copies. And on the PC side, steam is a big player. Mac games are easily available through the app store.
As for hardware. We're at the end of a console generation. Near 200 millon consoles went over the counter, a lot more if you include the handhelds. Lots of fatctors that, for me, atleast, makes perfect sense for the boxed software and hardware to be on a downturn.
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