Nine Out Of Every Ten Video Games Sold Were Digital In The UK Last Year

Digital buying has left physical releases in the dust in the UK gaming market.

As technology takes over our daily life, a lot of our everyday physical needs are achieved via digital means. We can order food, get groceries, and buy clothes without going anywhere, and gaming is no exception to this.

The industry is based on technological advancements, so gamers preferring digital means over physical releases is only natural. 

Cloud Streaming is one such thing that has gained popularity, but digital game sales are by far the hottest trend nowadays. Many analysts have predicted that the medium will take over physical release. And this already started in the UK, as almost 90% of video game sales in 2022 were digital.

Major Takeaways

  • Almost 90% of the video game sales in the UK last year were digital.
  • Only 1 out of every 10th game was a physical sale. 
  • The industry is bigger than film, music, and TV in the country. 

BBC is responsible for reporting these stats to the masses. The Digital Entertainment And Retail Association, also called ERA, first conveyed these numbers. As you will see, the results are astonishing. 

The ERA said that almost nine out of every ten games sold last year in the United Kingdom were digital sales. According to the trade body, these results come from 89.5% of video game sales being digital downloads. Hence, almost 90% of total sales last year in the UK were digital, which is a remarkable number. 

Everyone in the industry and consumers alike indeed knew digital games were the way forward. But, seeing such a huge increase in such a short time is surprising to all of us. Only a year ago, we saw articles about how digital games will overtake physical releases. 

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Only 10.5% of video game sales in the UK were physical copies of the said title. This account for only 1 out of every 10th game sold in the country in 2022. Such numbers are staggering for a medium as widespread as gaming. 

In 2022 alone, the UK gaming industry made £4.7bn in overall sales, which puts the reach of this medium in context. According to the BBC, this is higher than in film, television, or the music industry. However, that is nothing new, as gaming has been beating those three on a worldwide scale for some time.

Mobile apps accounted for 30% of all UK video game sales in 2022. This obviously pumped the Digital Sales stats up, as mobile games are only sold digitally. It also shows the growth of the mobile gaming industry in the country. 

A higher proportion of gamers are likely to download games directly from their console or PC rather than waiting for a parcel. Chief of ERA, Kim Bayley said that while the growth was low at 2.3%, the scale of the industry is enormous. It is bigger than video or music and sets standards for the entertainment sector, according to her.

While growth, at 2.3%, was lower than that of video or music, its scale is enormous – and in terms of innovation and excitement, it continues to set the pace for the entire entertainment sector.”

We also get some insight into how sales are accounted for in the gaming industry. According to Kim Bayley, behemoths like PlayStation and Valve do not publish sales figures. So, the ERA results are estimates of the actual sales.

However, these estimates are the industry benchmark and are accurate to a large degree. It’s much harder than in older days, according to the chief, but the researched numbers provided by company Omdia have a high standard. She goes on to say the following:

In the old days, when there was pretty much only physical console games and PC discs, it was far easier to track the market. These days, it’s a lot more fragmented and sometimes the new digital players simply won’t share their sales data directly – that’s where estimates come in.”

We can trust these ERA numbers because they also match up with the international trends of the industry. Over 94% of the total video game sales were done via an online store, meaning they were digital. Physical sales only accounted for 5.8% of the total numbers, which is a low percentage. 

This study lines up with the ERA numbers, meaning they are pretty spot on. One thing is for sure, the industry is shifting towards digital games, and it is happening pretty fast. What are your thoughts about this? Tell us in the comments below!

Similar Reads: PlayStation 5 And Xbox Series Are Battling For No.1 In UK This Year.

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Ahmed Mansoor is a News Writer who has a deep passion for single-player adventure games. He loves to keep tabs on the gaming and technology industries and loves to break stories that interest his audience. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and several years of experience writing for games. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Written 600+ News Stories.

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