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UK Monthly Report: GTA V and Nintendo Switch Lite shine in quiet January

GamesIndustry.biz, in partnership with GSD, will now offer analysis of games, hardware and accessories sales

Grand Theft Auto V was the best-selling game in January in the UK.

Based on GSD market data, the consistently popular action game (first released in September 2013) sold more copies in January 2020 than it did in January 2019.

This is part of exclusive data supplied to GamesIndustry.biz for our new monthly market analysis of UK game sales. The data comes from ISFE and GSD, and includes software sales (physical and digital), hardware sales and accessories. To receive this data in your inbox, sign-up to our UK Retail and Publishing Newsletter.

In total, 2.13 million tracked retail and digital games were sold in the UK during January (see participating companies below), a drop of 8.3% compared with the same period the year before.

This is primarily due to a drop in physical game sales, which are down more than 21% year-on-year. January was a very quiet month for physical releases, with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot from Bandai Namco the biggest new game launch during the month. Last year, January featured two significant releases in the form of Resident Evil 2 by Capcom (the biggest game of the month) and Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe.

Despite the lack of big release, download sales rose by 3.7% during January 2020. Overall, download sales accounted for 57% of tracked game sales last month.

Although GTA V was the best-selling game overall, the No.1 physical game of the month was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Check out the digital, physical and combined charts below.

The biggest publisher of January was Electronic Arts, which achieved a 15% share of game unit sales thanks to FIFA 20, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Star Wars Battlefront II and EA Sports UFC 3. However, Nintendo's first-party games are currently not included in the digital data and in terms of physical software sales alone, Nintendo was the biggest publisher of the month with a huge 21% share of the market. In terms of downloads alone, Ubisoft was narrowly the No.1 publisher, thanks to Rainbow Six: Siege, Uno and Monopoly Plus.

PS4 games were the most popular during the month, with 42.7% of tracked game sales coming on the platform, ahead of Xbox One (26.1%) and Nintendo Switch (16.3%). Again, Nintendo's first-party games are absent from the digital component. When just counting physical sales, PS4 still comes out top with a 37% market share, followed by Switch at 31% and then Xbox One (24.4%). Xbox One numbers do not include any data related to its Game Pass subscription offering.

Over in the world of hardware, it was a tough month for console sales. The number of games machines sold during January are 42% down compared with the same period in 2019. Hardware sales have slowed considerably as we head towards the launch of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Nintendo Switch was the most successful family of consoles during January in terms of both revenue and units. Nintendo Switch Lite was the most successful individual console SKU over the course of the month. This is despite stock shortages for Nintendo's platforms throughout the month.

The drop in sales of consoles has had an impact on the accessories and game card markets, too. Spending on these products during January hit £30.6 million (down 13.7% year-on-year), with 1.18 million units sold (down 19%). The most successful accessories and game cards were Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus memberships, PlayStation Store credit and the Xbox One Wireless Controller.

January UK Physical & Download Top 20 (Full Games)

Position Title
1 Grand Theft Auto V
2 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
3 FIFA 20
4 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
5 Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
6 Star Wars Battlefront II
7 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
8 Red Dead Redemption 2
9 Just Dance 2020
10 Minecraft
11 EA Sports UFC 3
12 Need For Speed: Heat
13 Luigi's Mansion 3*
14 Monopoly Plus
15 Borderlands 3
16 Uno
17 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe*
18 Resident Evil 2
19 Spider-Man
20 The Sims 4

* Digital data not available.

January UK Physical Top 20 (Full Games)

Position Title
1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
2 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
3 FIFA 20
4 Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
5 Grand Theft Auto V
6 Luigi's Mansion 3
7 Just Dance 2020
8 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
9 Borderlands 3
10 Minecraft
11 Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training For Nintendo Switch
12 Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020
13 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
14 Red Dead Redemption 2
15 WWE 2K20
16 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
17 Pokemon Sword
18 New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
19 Tom Clancy's The Division 2
20 Super Mario Maker 2

January UK Download Top 20 (Full Games)

Position Title
1 Grand Theft Auto V
2 Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare
3 FIFA 20
4 Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
5 Star Wars Battlefront II
6 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
7 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
8 EA Sports UFC 3
9 Monopoly Plus
10 Uno
11 Red Dead Redemption 2
12 Spider-Man
13 Tekken 7
14 Sid Meier's Civilization Vi
15 Assassin's Creed Odyssey
16 Resident Evil 2
17 Need For Speed: Heat
18 The Sims 4
19 Football Manager 2020
20 Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Digital data includes full games sold via Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Nintendo Eshop. Participating companies are Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Codemasters, Electronic Arts, Focus Home Interactive, Koch Media, Microsoft, Milestone, Paradox Interactive, Sega, Sony, Square Enix, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Physical sales data is supplied directly by the retailers.

Author
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.