UK games market ‘bigger than ever’ in 2018

Market valued at record £5.7bn; digital accounted for half of all game spending

The UK saw record consumer spending on gaming in 2018, with the market now valued at £5.7 billion ($7.4 billion).

That’s according to a new valuation report by trade body UKIE, which pulls in data from various provider and analysts to estimate spending on games in the UK.

According to UKIE’s research (published on GamesIndustry.biz), the UK games market has grown by 10% over the past year, improving on a record year in 2017, which saw spending reach £5.11 billion.

Software was the biggest generator of revenue, up 10% to $4.013 billion (the first time it has passed the $4 billion mark).

Digital accounted for approximately half of all games spending in 2018, the report said, growing by 20.3% year-on-year to $2 billion. 80% of spending on console and PC software (including DLC and microtransactions) was digital.

In physical, sales of new boxed software (tracked by GfK Entertainment) brought in £770 million last year, down 2.6% from the figure achieved in 2017. Pre-owned software, meanwhile, is estimated to have dropped sharply by 30.8%, generating only £67.9 million.

However, physical retail stores saw an upside in hardware sales, which enjoyed a 10.7% boost in spending over the course of the year. Of the £1.57 billion taken by hardware sales in 2018, £702 million was generated by consoles, up 6.5% year-on-year.

PC hardware sales were up 18.4% to £445 million, while sales of peripherals and accessories rose even further, with an increase of 19.9% to £355 million. The only hardware segment to decline was VR devices, down 20.9% to £72 million.

Mobile accounted for 29.1% of spending at £1.17 billion, an increase of 8.2% year on year.

“The UK games industry will continue to deliver fresh new content to players across different platforms, new formats and innovative business models,” UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist told GamesIndustry.biz.

“And while this will evolve, there are more and more people who want to play games so there is every reason to remain confident that overall consumer spend can continue to grow, as long as we continue to have the diversity of talent and ideas as well as a healthy business culture for companies.”