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Nintendo inspires improved January sales for UK retail

Monster Hunter is January's No.3 best-selling game after just a week on sale

More physical games were sold in the UK during January 2018 than the same period the year before, the latest GfK/UKIE data reveals.

1.25 million boxed games were sold, a slight improvement on the 1.24 million boxed games sold during January 2017.

The big positive is that revenue was also up. £37 million was generated from these games last month, whereas that number was at £35 million in January 2017.

It's not a bad result when you consider the lack of boxed games released during January in the UK. Just two games make the Top 50 sales chart that weren't on the market during the prior month - Monster Hunter World (No.3) and Dragon Ball Fighterz (No.11).

January last year wasn't exactly awash with games, either. However, it did have a major new release in the form of Resident Evil VII.

And actually, January 2017 was a better month for the big games, too. FIFA 18 sold pretty much exactly the same number of games as FIFA 17 (January vs January), but Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare actually sold more in January 2017 than Call of Duty WWII did in January 2018 (physical sales). There's a very good reason for that, Infinite Warfare had been cut to under £25 in the UK due to poor performance, whereas WWII still holds its original RRP.

GTA V also did better in January 2017 than it did this January, as you'd expect, and the trend is true of most of the big titles that came out during the previous Christmas period.

So what's caused the slight improvement in performance?

Well, in a word, Nintendo. Switch was not on the market in January 2017, and back then Nintendo was the fifth biggest publisher with a 9% share of the software market (mostly due to the recent Pokémon release). This January, however, Nintendo boasts a 13.6% share of the market and is the No.1 games company in the UK (physical sales). That's ahead of EA and Activision Blizzard.

Although Nintendo isn't quite breaking records in the UK like it is in other markets, the firm is still enjoying a renaissance in the territory. There were three Nintendo games in the Top Ten sales chart last month - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at No.7, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at No.9 and Super Mario Odyssey at No.10. Each game also has a high average selling price of £49.99.

Indeed, all three games individually sold more in January 2018 than the entire Top 20 Wii U sellers of January 2017 (if you add all the best-selling Wii U games in January 2017, it still comes to less than Super Mario Odyssey). Switch hardware sales have already sailed passed Wii U in the UK in under 9 months.

Therefore, we can expect Switch to continue skewing the year-on-year market comparisons until March, which is when the system launched last year.

As for the actual physical sales chart for January 2018, Call of Duty: WWII was the best-selling game, followed by FIFA 18. Monster Hunter World makes No.3, and it's an impressive performance considering that game was only on the market for one week when this chart was compiled.

Here is the UKIE/GfK Top 20 for January 2018:

January December
1 1 Call of Duty: WWII
2 2 FIFA 18
3 New Entry Monster Hunter World
4 5 Grand Theft Auto V
5 4 Assassin's Creed Origins
6 3 Star Wars: Battlefront II
7 9 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
8 8 PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
9 18 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
10 6 Super Mario Odyssey
11 New Entry Dragon Ball Fighterz
12 12 The Sims 4
13 32 Rocket League Collectors Edition
14 15 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2
15 11 Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
16 7 Gran Turismo Sport
17 13 Forza Motorsport 7
18 22 LEGO World
19 23 Forza Horizon 3
20 26 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare