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UK games market grew 4.4% to £7.82bn in 2023

Software sales were up 4.1% year-on-year, while hardware also grew 2.1% compared to 2022

UKIE published its latest Consumer Market Valuation Report, showing that the UK games market was worth £7.82 billion in 2023, a 4.4% increase compared to 2022's revised total of £7.49 billion.

The figures

  • UK games consumer market value: £7.82 billion (+4.4% year-on-year)
  • Software sales: £5.18 billion (+4.1% year-on-year)
  • Hardware sales: £2.22 billion (+2.1% year-on-year)
  • Revenue from film, TV, and soundtracks based on game IPs: £124 million

The highlights

While overall game sales were up in the UK in 2023, boxed sales have continued their decline and were down 5% to £495 million compared to 2022. Looking at digital sales more precisely, digital console software sales were up 5.6% to £2.48 billion, and digital PC software sales increased 4.5% year-on-year to £684 million. Mobile sales were also up, reaching £1.52 billion following a 4.5% growth.

When it comes to hardware sales, consoles had a particularly strong year, with sales increasing 12% compared to 2022 to £951 million. PC, on the other hand, showed quite a decline, with sales decreasing 11% year-on-year, falling to £673 million.

Omdia senior analyst James McWhirter gave a bit more detail: "Digital spend within the UK's console market returned to growth in 2023 as PlayStation 5 hardware sales volumes hit their stride, while Nintendo Switch remained remarkably resilient as a bumper lineup of first party software propped up active users and spend on the now seven-year-old platform."

He also noted the success of games including Diablo 4, Hogwarts Legacy, Spider-Man 2, Super Mario Bros Wonder, Tears of the Kingdom, EA Sports FC 24, and Baldur's Gate 3, which all contributed to the health of the market.

Dorian Block, from data firm GfK Entertainment, added that the decline in boxed software sales was actually "better than expected," due to strong releases and the "Zelda effect" on Switch. He added that PS4/PS5 boxed sales overtook Switch sales in 2023 in the UK.

"Total sales achieved a higher overall [average selling price] than any other year on record (£36 overall)," he continued, still talking about boxed sales. "This was achieved by the fact that there were 17 major titles in 2023 that remained above £50 over the entire year (accounting for 34% of 2023 revenue), compared to just 8 titles in 2022 (accounting for 21% of 2022 revenue)."

Meanwhile, accessories sales grew 3% to £402 million, and VR hardware sales increased 11% to £194 million.

UKIE's report included revenue coming from digital film and TV based on video game properties for the first time, creating a new vertical the trade body called the "broader game culture sector," including toys, merchandise, books, magazines, film, TV, soundtracks, events, and streaming content. This sector saw a revenue of £418 million in 2023 in the UK.

Revenue from games soundtrack as well as TV and film adaptations reached £124 million in 2023, while events revenue surged 140% to £10.3 million – a success UKIE attributed to events including Pokémon Go Fest and Apex Legends Global Series.

UKIE CEO Nick Poole, commented: "Once again, the report showcases the vitality of interactive entertainment in the UK in the face of significant challenges."

He acknowledged both this "positive trajectory" but also the layoffs affecting the industry, and reiterated UKIE's commitment to support the UK games industry.

He added: "The video game industry continues to evolve rapidly, presenting both challenges and opportunities. As we continue to see changing patterns of consumer behaviour in how people buy and play games, these figures give us real confidence that games will continue to pioneer tomorrow’s frontiers in entertainment, learning and participation."

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Marie Dealessandri avatar
Marie Dealessandri: Marie joined in 2019 to head its Academy section. A journalist since 2012, she started in games in 2016. She can be found (rarely) tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate and the Dead Cells soundtrack. GI resident Moomins expert.
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