clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Retail games market squeezed by digital, physical sales hit all-time low in UK

New, 23 comments

Physical game sales in the UK hit an all-time low last week, with gamers deserting traditional retail for digital downloads on non-traditional platforms.

SEGA Olympic game screenshot
SEGA Olympic game screenshot

Sales of physical computer games in the UK have hit an all-time low, according to new figures released by sales tracker UKIE/GfK. Retailers made £8.4 million (about $13 million) on sales of 394,688 games over the course of last week, with the market increasingly squeezed by growing adoption of digital serves such as Steam and Xbox Live. Gamers are also looking elsewhere for their fun, with many favoring non-traditional platforms including smartphones and tablets.

MCV emphasizes that recent weeks have been particulary tough for computer games' share of the overall entertainment market — events such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games have kept consumers glued to their TV screens but haven't necessarily made them pick up their console controllers. The top-selling game last week was, admittedly, Sega's official Olympics title, available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, but sales for that title are likely to drop off dramatically once the Games are over.

As The Register points out, the market is currently at the tail-end of the last console cycle, with the aforementioned devices beginning to seem somewhat stale. Nintendo is gearing up for the debut of the Wii U this year while Sony and Microsoft are both tipped to release new consoles in 2013 — retailers will need to keep up with the pace of change if they hope to stem the tide of digital migration in the coming months and years.