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Nintendo rescues quiet February for UK games retail

But the platform holder is unlikely to do it again

For UK boxed games retail, 2018 has trundled off to a very slow start.

Monster Hunter World was the big new game of January (reaching No.3), and it actually rose a place to No.2 in February - if that offers any indication of just how devoid of competition the marketplace is.

There were some new games out in February. At No.3 there is EA's UFC 3 and No.4 sees the debut of Sony's Shadow of Colossus. A little further down at No.7 we have Kingdom Come: Deliverance from Deep Silver. Then, all the way down at No.43 sits Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, and Metal Gear Survive just about limps in at No.50.

Bayonetta 2 returns at No.20, after the game received its Switch edition.

These are all relatively niche game launches, and none of them came close to matching last year's big February release - Ubisoft's For Honor.

Despite this, though, February 2018 was a more successful month for boxed games retailers compared with 2017. Software sales are up 5% to 1.2 million games sold and revenue generated from these games is up 6% to £36.5 million.

The reason for this is almost entirely down to Nintendo Switch. The machine was not on shelves during February 2017, and the console has been performing well in the UK. Switch accounted for 14.5% of all the games sold last month, while Nintendo was the No.2 publisher of the month with a 13.3% share of the market (EA was No.1 due to the strong performance of FIFA 18 and UFC 3).

This time last year, Wii U had a 1.8% share of the market, and Nintendo was the No.4 publisher of the month.

That means that, despite a stronger January and February, we can expect to see a hefty decline in March. Last year benefited from the launch of Nintendo Switch at the start of the month, alongside Horizon: Zero Dawn. These were big releases that lifted the market considerably last year.

This year, the start of the month is extremely quiet. The big games are expected to arrive at the end of the month, with Sea of Thieves on Xbox One (March 20th) and Far Cry 5 (March 27th)

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

January December
1 2 FIFA 18
2 3 Monster Hunter World
3 New Entry EA Sports UFC 3
4 New Entry Shadow of Colossus
5 4 Grand Theft Auto V
6 1 Call of Duty: WWII
7 New Entry Kingdom Come: Deliverance
8 7 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
9 10 Super Mario Odyssey
10 5 Assassin's Creed Origins
11 15 Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy
12 9 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
13 8 PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
14 13 Rocket League: Collectors Edition
15 23 Fallout 4
16 19 Forza Horizon 3
17 6 Star Wars Battlefront II
18 11 Dragon Ball Fighters
19 27 Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6: Siege
20 Re-Entry Bayonetta 2
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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who