UK Data: Over 20% of Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed and Battlefront II sales were digital

FIFA 18 was 19.9%, while online games like Destiny 2 posts even stronger digital sales

Between 20 - 23% of big blockbuster console games are sold as downloads in the UK.

That's according to data published in the latest Entertainment Retailer's Association yearbook, which combines sales data from IPSOS's GSD digital download project with GfK physical retail figures.

The numbers are pretty consistent across the big blockbusters. 19.9% of FIFA 18 sales were sold as downloads, 20.4% of Assassin's Creed Origins games were downloaded, 21.5% of Battlefront II units were sold digitally, while Call of Duty: WWII posted an impressive 22.8% digital download share.

It both highlights the strong impact of digital downloading, but also the continued dominance of the physical games market - which still accounts for over three quarters of AAA games sold.

There are exceptions, of course. Destiny 2 is an online game, and its predecessor featured numerous downloadable expansions. As a result, Destiny's audience has become a digital-savvy group and that's clear in the data, with 38.5% of Destiny 2 sales being downloads.

Interesting, Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy was also heavily downloaded, with 26.5% of sales coming via PSN. That may be due to stock shortages of Crash Bandicoot early on during its release, forcing some consumers to go digital. The lower price of the product may have also made it an attractive download.

One piece of believed wisdom that exists in the market today is that Xbox Live is a slightly stronger digital platform compared with PSN. There's no real evidence of this in the data, except when you look at the two big racing games released last year. PS4 exclusive Gran Turismo Sport was downloaded just 12.4% of the time, with the vast majority of sales coming via retail. Meanwhile, Xbox One's Forza Motorsport 7 had a download share of 21%.

It's an interesting observation, but we shouldn't draw too much from this. Gran Turismo Sport was involved in numerous PS4 bundles (and PS4 sales were very strong towards the end of last year) and was discounted on the High Street. Furthermore, the 26.4% of Crash Bandicoot sales suggests that PSN is clearly a strong digital distribution method.

ERA's data showed us that, generally, video game pricing rose last year by 2.5% to £33.47, impacted by the release of higher priced Switch titles.

In terms of physical games, 16% of all boxed games were sold on Nintendo platforms, 33% on Microsoft machines and 51% on PlayStation devices.

Digital sales data does not include Bethesda and Nintendo, nor smaller companies (hence the absence of PlayerUnknown Battleground's from the below chart). It includes PC download sales (with Steam sales), Xbox Live and PSN, but not eShop.

Below is the physical/digital combined Top 20 for 2017

PositionVideo Game SalesPublisher
1FIFA 182,696,721EA
2Call of Duty: WWII2,442,416Activision
3Grand Theft Auto V1,080,022Take-Two
4Assassin's Creed Origins679,965Ubisoft
5Destiny 2673,551Activision
6Star Wars Battlefront II658,814EA
7Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy651,354Activision
8Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands574,889Ubisoft
9Gran Turismo Sport484,933Sony
10Horizon Zero Dawn456,374Sony
11FIFA 17425,778EA
12Forza Horizon 3400,118Microsoft
13Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare381,478Activision
14Resident Evil 7354,247Capcom
15Mario Kart 8: Deluxe341,531Nintendo
16Super Mario Odyssey339,719Nintendo
17LEGO Worlds336,676Warner Bros
18Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild329,013Nintendo
19Forza Motorsport 7267,981Microsoft
20Fallout 4223,557Bethesda

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Latest comments (1)

Garry Williams Licensing Director, Sold Out Sales and Marketing Ltd4 years ago
So much for the digital "tipping point" seems retail boxed is still a very serious part of the market! Who would have thought it?
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