UK video game sales are now 80% digital, according to Gamesindustry.biz. This figure includes microtransactions, subscriptions, and add-on content which are digital in nature. In 2018, the UK saw a 12.5% increase in digital sales and a 2.8% decrease in physical sales overall. But while we saw physical sales for titles seemingly decrease throughout the year, retail still has a strong foothold in the industry.
More consoles were sold in 2018 than in 2017. Additionally, players still seemed to prefer buying their AAA games physically. FIFA 19 is a good example of this phenomenon. It was the best selling game in the UK and, of the 2.5 million units sold, 1.89 million of those sales were physical copies.
When it came to the year’s biggest release, players opted for hard copies 75% of the time. Still, it’s worth noting that digital sales for FIFA this year did increase by 5%. Overall, these statistics remind us that hard copies clearly still have their place, even as digital sales continue to take a bigger piece of the pie (year-to-year).
As digital sales increase, so do concerns of player ownership or lack thereof. Without physical copies, games can vanish without a trace. This is something we were reminded of when the original NBA Playgrounds was quietly removed from digital storefronts, following the release of NBA 2K Playgrounds 2. Additionally, the latest interest in streaming as the future of gaming shows potential, but also raises concerns regarding ownership and access (based on internet connection strength).
Digital isn’t all doom and gloom, of course. As Gamesindustry.biz pointed out, video game sales have more than doubled since 2007 as a result of digital.
Video Game Sales 2018 Dominated by Digital in the UK
When do you buy digital as opposed to physical? Tell us what your gaming libraries look in the comments below.