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FIFA 18 and Destiny 2 headline improved September for UK games market

But there is still potential challenges for UK stores

Sales of boxed video games improved in the UK during September compared with the same period a year before.

Over 2.36m physical games were sold, a rise of 7% over September 2016. The main sales drivers were FIFA 18 and Destiny 2, with the EA title claiming the No.1 spot ahead of Activision's shooter.

As a result, EA was the No.1 boxed games publisher of the month in the UK, after several months outside of the Top Five. Activision jumps to No.2 (although has been ranking highly all summer thanks to the success of Crash Bandicoot), and Nintendo is pushed down to No.3 following several months at the top.

The surprise star performer of September was NBA 2K18, which is 28% up in sales compared to last year's title (physical sales only).

Although the numbers may paint a positive growth picture, it was actually an underwhelming month for the games market. FIFA 18's physical launch sales are lower than FIFA 17's (although FIFA 17 was on sale for a bit longer), and last year didn't have a secondary 'Destiny 2-sized' launch, so the 7% rise needs to be taken in that context.

There was broad growth for Switch last month, which sold more games during September than at any previous month since it launched - Ubisoft's Mario + Rabbids turning in a strong performance and making the Top Ten.

However, Switch sales do appear to be slowing slightly, with stock becoming more readily available at retail. Indeed, the UK performance of Switch hasn't matched other territories.

There were also a number of key under-performers during September. Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite only managed No.45, Project Cars 2 reached No.14, while Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 is once again down year-on-year.

October will be an interesting month when it comes to comparisons. October 2016 saw key launches such as Battlefield 1, Mafia III, Skyrim Special Edition and Gears of War 4. In contrast, this month's big titles are Gran Turismo Sport, Forza 7, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Super Mario Odyssey, Assassin's Creed Origins and two Bethesda sequels - Wolfenstein II and The Evil Within 2.

Other new titles that arrived last month included Ark Survival Evolved (No.18), Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (No.22), Everybody's Golf (No.23), Pokken DX (No.26), The escapists 2 (No.29), Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition (No.33), Knack II (No.34) and Metroid: Samus Returns (No.35).

Here is the UKIE/GfK Top 20 for September:

September August
1 New Entry FIFA 18
2 New Entry Destiny 2
3 1 Uncharted: Lost Legacy
4 11 Forza Horizon 3
5 New Entry NBA 2K18
6 3 Grand Theft Auto V
7 2 Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy
6 New Entry Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
9 4 F1 2017
10 New Entry Pro Evolution Soccer 2018
11 5 Fallout 4
12 9 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
13 12 LEGO Worlds
14 New Entry Project Cars 2
15 10 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege
16 6 Dishonored 2
17 7 Doom
18 New Entry Ark: Survival Evolved
19 25 Overwatch: Game Of The Year
20 22 Minecraft: Xbox Edition

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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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