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European games market struggled in December as new releases faltered | European Monthly Charts

But FIFA 23, Call of Duty and Pokémon improved over last year

Console and PC game sales struggled across Europe last month, according to the latest GSD data.

27.4 million tracked games were sold across European markets in December, a drop of 13% over the year before.

11.4 million of those sales were digital (down 17% year-on-year), while nearly 16 million sales were physical (down just over 10%).

FIFA 23 was comfortably the biggest selling game of the month, ahead of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. However, if Pokémon Violet and Scarlet sales were combined, that game would have been No.2 (despite the fact Nintendo doesn't share digital data).

Sales of FIFA in December are up 5% compared with the year before, possibly helped by the World Cup. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's December sales are up nearly 6% compared with Call of Duty: Vanguard in December 2021 (note: Call of Duty launched earlier this year). Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's December sales are 5% higher than what Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl managed during the same period last year.

The games that pulled the overall market down were legacy titles such as GTA 5 and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, which both saw big drops compared with December last year. Meanwhile, key titles last Christmas such as F1 and Just Dance didn't perform as strongly this year.

New releases in December didn't perform particularly well, either. The highest charting new release of the month was Need for Speed: Unbound at No.12, followed by Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion at No.21. The Callisto Protocol makes No.22, but it probably would have charted in the Top 20 as digital sales are not included for this game.

Switch comes out top but a tough month for consoles

1.33 million games consoles were sold across tracked European markets, a drop of 19% over the year before (UK and Germany data is unavailable. For UK hardware stats, click here).

This was due to a sharp drop in sales for Xbox Series S and X and Nintendo Switch. PS5 sales were also down, but only marginally (down 3.4%).

However, Switch was still comfortably the No.1 best-selling games machine across Europe. PS5 stock issues are beginning to subside, although there were still some supply issues during the month.

In terms of accessories and toys-to-life products, 3.66 million add-on products were sold across tracked markets, a drop of 9% over the year before. The market was led by the PS5 DualSense Controller, which saw sales growth of 5% compared with December 2021.

European GSD December 2022 Top 20 (Digital + Physical)

Position Title
1 FIFA 23 (EA)
2 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision Blizzard)
3 God of War Ragnarok (Sony)
4 Pokémon Violet (Nintendo)*
5 Grand Theft Auto 5 (Rockstar)
6 Nintendo Switch Sports (Nintendo)*
7 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe (Nintendo)*
8 Pokémon Scarlet (Nintendo)*
9 Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar)
10 Just Dance 2023 (Ubisoft)
11 Elden Ring (Bandai Namco)
12 Need for Speed Unbound (EA)
13 NBA 2K23 (2K Games)
14 Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft)
15 Sonic Frontiers (Sega)
16 Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition (Mojang/Nintendo)
17 Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope (Ubisoft)
18 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Warner Bros)
19 Gran Turismo 7 (Sony)
20 Splatoon 3 (Nintendo)*

* Digital data unavailable

GSD digital data includes games from participating companies sold via Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Nintendo Eshop. Major participating companies are Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Codemasters, Electronic Arts, Embracer Group (including Gearbox, Koch Media, Sabre Interactive), Focus Entertainment, Konami, Marvellous Games, Microids, Microsoft (including Bethesda), Milestone, Nacon, Paradox Interactive, Quantic Dream, Sega, Sony, Square Enix, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Nintendo and 505 Games are the notable absentees, alongside smaller studios.

Digital data includes games sold in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.

Physical data includes all games, but only those sold in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

Console hardware sales cover Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Accessories sales cover the same markets, but doesn't include Switzerland.

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