The full year figures from GfK show that the UK physical games market fell 15.8% to £1.78bn in 2016, GamesIndustry.biz can reveal.
That number includes combined sales of physical games, console hardware, accessories, digital points cards and toys-to-life figurines. It does not include TV consoles such as the NES Mini.
It was console hardware that suffered the biggest drop. Sales of PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS and legacy devices generated £503m in 2016, which is down 27% compared with the £689.5m made in 2015. Despite the release of PS4 Pro and Xbox One S, almost every console dropped in sales (in terms of units and revenue) year-on-year - with the exception of Nintendo's 3DS family of consoles, which were boosted by the huge success of Pokemon Sun and Moon.
It suggests that the accelerated console cycle is causing a steeper drop off in sales than would usually be expected at this point.
In more pleasing news, the money generated by gaming accessories in 2016 actually grew by 1% to £501m. It's an impressive achievement when you consider this includes toys-to-life figures, a sector under pressure following the cancellation of the Disney Infinity brand. One of the key reasons for this growth was VR, with PlayStation VR in particular proving a strong seller in the category. If PlayStation VR had not been released, the accessories market would have declined in 2016.
GfK supplied us with the below Top 20 UK Accessories of 2016. Note, the firm has stripped out PlayStation VR, toys-to-life and digital content from the chart.
|1||Xbox One Black Wireless Controller|
|2||PS4 DualShock 4 Controller - Black|
|3||PS4 DualShock 4 Controller V2 - Black|
|4||Xbox One S White Wireless Controller|
|5||Xbox One Chat Headset|
|6||Ear Force Recon 50X Headset Black (Turtle Beach)|
|7||Xbox One Play and Charge Kit - Black|
|8||Ear Force XO One Headset (Turtle Beach)|
|9||Xbox One Twin Docking Station Black (Venom)|
|10||Ear Force Recon 50P Headset (Turtle Beach)|
|11||Nintendo 3DS XL Power Adapter|
|12||Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter|
|13||PS4 DualShock Controller - Wave Blue|
|14||PS4 DualShock Controller - Magma Red|
|15||Ear Force Recon 30X Headset (Turtle Beach)|
|16||Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller|
|17||Xbox One Twin Battery Packs - Black (Venom)|
|18||Guitar Hero Live: PS4 Guitar Controller|
|19||Sony PS4 Camera V2|
|20||Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0 Black (Sony)|
Yet the biggest area of interest is the software market. UKIE/GFK figures show that £776m was generated by boxed software sales (including toys-to-life starter packs) in 2016, a drop of 16.4% compared with the £927.6m of 2015.
The figure is disappointing, with some big titles failing to deliver and a severe drop off in Xbox 360 and PS3 software sales. However, not everyone will be disappointed with the results. UKIE provided GamesIndustry.biz with additional information over publisher and platform performance, so that we can better understand the trends impacting the UK physical games sector.
PS4, Xbox One and 3DS dominate
In terms of platforms, it's no surprise to see the newer Microsoft and Sony consoles dominate in terms of software market share. Almost 80% of all boxed games sold last year were either on PS4 or Xbox One, while in 2015 that number sat at 66%. PS3 and 360 games accounted for just 8.1% of sales, whereas in 2015 that number was closer to 20%.
A lack of games on Wii U saw the software market share of that device drop to 2.5%, but Nintendo will be delighted by the performance of 3DS. That machine increased its software market share year-on-year, an impressive achievement when you consider the machine is over five years old. Nintendo's success there was down primarily to the performance of Pokemon Sun and Moon, which were the 21st and 23rd best-selling games of the entire year.
Software Share by Platform - Units
|Last Year||This Year||Platform||Software Market Share (Units)|
In terms of software revenue (as opposed to units), the top platforms are largely the same, although the split between the growth machines and the rest of the chart is pronounced. Once again PS4, Xbox One and 3DS all grew, and all three accounted for 90% of the entire boxed software market - this is due to the generally higher priced software on current generation machines.
Software Share by Platform - Revenue
|Last Year||This Year||Platform||Software Market Share (Revenue)|
EA now accounts for over 22% of all boxed games sold
Another year, another dominant performance from Electronic Arts in terms of the number of boxed games sold. The company increased its share for yet another year by almost 3% and now accounts for 22.1% of the UK physical software market.
There are two very good reasons for this - FIFA and Battlefield. FIFA 17 sold 2.5m boxed units during 2016 (almost double it nearest competitor) whereas Battlefield 1's impressive performance meant EA published two of the three games to shift over 1m copies in 2016. In terms of revenue, EA's dominance was even more significant - accounting for more than 26% of the money spent on boxed games.
Warner Bros dropped out of the Top Five publisher rankings due to a lighter release slate in 2016 versus the year before. Bethesda also dropped down the list slightly, although that shouldn't come as a surprise considering 2015 featured the massive success of Fallout 4. Bethesda still enjoyed some success with the HD remake of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Doom, which both charted within the Top 20 for the year.
Meanwhile, all three platform holders increased their share of the UK boxed software market year-on-year. Nintendo, primarily due to Pokemon Sun and Moon, returned to the Top Five with a 1.6% market share growth. Sony increased its share by 1.4% on the back of Uncharted 4, while Microsoft stays at No.8, but increased its software share by 0.3% thanks to the surprise performance of Forza Horizon 3. That game was the tenth best-seller of the year, and the only racing game to make the entire Top 40 (its nearest competitor is F1 2016 at No.41).
An additional note on the publisher rankings is that these only factor in physical sales. So PC-focused publishers such as Valve do not appear in the charts as that market is almost entirely digital (furthermore, companies such as Sega may well have appeared higher if PC download data was included).
Top 20 UK Games Publishers - Units
|Last Year||This Year||Company Name||Software Market share (Units)|
|11||10||Square Enix Europe||3.3%|
If you ever needed proof of the predictability of the sales charts, then look no further than the 2016 Top 50. FIFA 17 at No.1, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare at No.2 and Battlefield 1 at No.3.
It is another chart utterly dominated by major sequels. There are just five new IP in the All-Formats Top 50 - Tom Clancy's The Division, Overwatch, Rocket League (which was released digitally in 2015), No Man's Sky and Steep. However, two of those new brands did make it into the Top Ten, with The Division in particular reaching No.4 (it was the fastest selling new IP in UK chart history when it launched in March).
Another remarkable achievement is Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar's opus may have been three years old last year, but it was still the fifth best-selling game of 2016. It has now sold well over 6m copies at UK retail.
The highest charting exclusive game was Uncharted 4: A Thief's End at No.6. The PS4 game was heavily bundled with consoles and was comfortably the top exclusive of the year. Officially, Microsoft's Forza Horizon 3 was the second best-selling exclusive game at No.10. However, it wouldn't have been if the sales of Pokemon Sun and Moon on 3DS had been combined.
In not so positive news, it was a tough year for toys-to-life. LEGO Dimensions, released in 2015, was the best-selling game in the genre at No.38, Disney Infinity 3 was at No.43, while Skylanders Imaginators scrapes in at No.49.
Outside of the Top 50, notable games include Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 (No.57), Homefront: The Revolution (No.59), Dead Rising 4 (No.62), Football Manager 2017 (No.63 - and the best-selling PC boxed game of the year), Quantum Break (No.65), The Last Guardian (No.68), Battleborn (No.73), Street Fighter V (No.79), Mirror's Edge Catalyst (No.80) and Yo-Kai Watch (No.89).
There were six Pokemon games in the Top 100 and six LEGO games.
The All-Formats UK Top 50 Boxed Chart 2016
|1||FIFA 17||EA/EA Canada|
|2||Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare||Activision/Infinity Ward|
|3||Battlefield 1||EA/EA DICE|
|4||Tom Clancy's The Division||Ubisoft/Massive|
|5||Grand Theft Auto V||Rockstar/Rockstar North|
|6||Uncharted 4: A Thief's End||Sony/Naughty Dog|
|7||Call of Duty: Black Ops III||Activision/Treyarch|
|8||Watch Dogs 2||Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal|
|10||Forza Horizon 3||Microsoft/Playground Games|
|11||Mafia III||2K Games/Hangar 13|
|12||Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition||Bethesda|
|13||FIFA 16||EA/EA Canada|
|14||LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens||Warner Bros/TT Games|
|16||LEGO Marvel Avengers||Warner Bros/TT Games|
|17||Star Wars Battlefront||EA/EA DICE|
|18||Minecraft: Xbox Edition||Microsoft/4J Studios|
|19||Far Cry Primal||Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal|
|20||Gears of War 4||Microsoft/The Coalition|
|21||Pokemon Sun||Nintendo/Game Freak|
|23||Pokemon Moon||Nintendo/Game Freak|
|24||Final Fantasy XV||Square Enix|
|25||Rocket League||505 Games/Psyonix|
|26||WWE 2K17||2K Games/Yuke's and Visual Concepts|
|28||EA Sports UFC 2||EA/EA Canada|
|29||No Man's Sky||Sony/Hello Games|
|31||Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege||Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal|
|32||Ratchet and Clank||Sony/Insomniac|
|33||LEGO Jurassic World||Warner Bros/TT Games|
|34||Minecraft: PlayStation Edition||Sony/4J Studios|
|35||Dark Souls III||Bandai Namco/From Software|
|36||Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2||EA/Popcap Games|
|37||Rise of The Tomb Raider: 20th Anniversary Edition||Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics|
|38||LEGO Dimensions||Warner Bros/TT Games|
|39||Minecraft: Story Mode||TellTale Games|
|40||Just Cause 3||Square Enix/Avalanche Studios|
|41||F1 2016||Codemasters/Codemasters Birmingham|
|42||WWE 2K16||2K Games/Yuke's and Visual Concepts|
|43||Disney Infinity 3.0||Disney/Avalanche Software|
|44||Assassin's Creed Syndicate||Ubisoft/Ubisoft Quebec|
|46||Halo 5: Guardians||Microsoft/343 Studios|
|47||Guitar Hero Live||Activision/FreeStyleGames|
|48||Just Dance 2017||Ubisoft/Ubisoft France|
|49||Skylanders Imaginators||Activision/Toys For Bob|
|50||Deus Ex: Mankind Divided||Square Enix/Eidos Montreal|