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Far Cry 6, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratchet & Clank sold better at physical retail than digital in the UK last year

But FIFA is now over 60% digital

The UK games industry is becoming increasingly digital, but single player games continue to sell strongly at physical retail.

Last year's best-selling new single player games Far Cry 6, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ratchet & Clank sold more in a box than as a download. The one exception was Resident Evil Village, which was slightly more popular as a digital game.

This is according to the latest GfK and GSD sales figures, as published in the Entertainment Retailer's Association's yearbook.

Nintendo games also continue to do well physically. Over 47% of all games sold at physical retail last year in the UK were on Nintendo Switch. However, Nintendo does not share digital download figures for its games.

The fastest growing digital product is FIFA. FIFA 22's digital share was 61% in 2021, whereas FIFA 21's digital share was 52% in 2020.

However, the Call of Duty franchise saw its digital share drop year-on-year. Call of Duty: Vanguard's digital share was 58%, whereas Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War's share was 69%.

The new release with the biggest digital sales share was EA's F1 2021, which had a 64% digital sales split.

Meanwhile, the ERA yearbook also revealed that more and more people are abandoning the High Street in favour of online retail. 72% of all physical games sold last year were sold via online stores. In 2020, that number was 70%.

Here is the 2021 UK sales charts with digital sales splits (ERA/GfK/GSD)

Pos Title Units Digital Share
1 FIFA 22 2,338,778 60.8%
2 Call of Duty: Vanguard 975,339 58.3%
3 Grand Theft Auto 5 967,242 76.9%
4 FIFA 21 602,224 62.3%
5 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe* 599,881 0%
6 Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 549,490 74.3%
7 Spider-Man: Miles Morales 505,803 30.6%
8 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* 457,407 0%
9 Minecraft 445,124 18.3%
10 Red Dead Redemption 2 395,669 78.2%
11 F1 2021 371,470 64.1%
12 Far Cry 6 371,020 44.7%
13 Assassin's Creed Valhalla 358,379 48.1%
14 Resident Evil Village 331,252 54.8%
15 Super Mario 3D World + Bower's Fury* 321,010 0%
16 Battlefield 2042 297,462 58.6%
17 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege 236,834 96.3%
18 Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart 225,477 18.4%
19 Pokémon Brilliant Diamond* 210,507 0%
20 Guardians of the Galaxy 192,576 27.4%

*Digital Data Unavailable

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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year games business veteran. He spent nine years at UK business weekly MCV, including five years as editor. He joined GI in 2016 and oversees editorial, sales and events worldwide. He is the architect behind Best Places To Work Awards and GI Live. And is a tiny bit obsessed with market data. He also writes for Doctor Who Magazine. Because Doctor Who is awesome.

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