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
|2||Call of Duty: WWII||2,442,416||Activision|
|3||Grand Theft Auto V||1,080,022||Take-Two|
|4||Assassin's Creed Origins||679,965||Ubisoft|
|6||Star Wars Battlefront II||658,814||EA|
|7||Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy||651,354||Activision|
|8||Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands||574,889||Ubisoft|
|9||Gran Turismo Sport||484,933||Sony|
|10||Horizon Zero Dawn||456,374||Sony|
|12||Forza Horizon 3||400,118||Microsoft|
|13||Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare||381,478||Activision|
|14||Resident Evil 7||354,247||Capcom|
|15||Mario Kart 8: Deluxe||341,531||Nintendo|
|16||Super Mario Odyssey||339,719||Nintendo|
|17||LEGO Worlds||336,676||Warner Bros|
|18||Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||329,013||Nintendo|
|19||Forza Motorsport 7||267,981||Microsoft|