UK spending on video games declined in 2022 for the first time in ten years.
That’s according to new data published by Ampere Analysis, which shows that spending on all games content and services fell by 1.6% to £5.38bn versus 2021 spending of £5.47bn.
Although this represents a year-on-year decline, UK numbers remain 23% higher than they were before the pandemic in 2019, after which video games enjoyed a surge in interest caused by lockdowns.
Ampere notes that other factors have also negatively impacted the UK market towards the end of 2022, such as the growing cost of living crisis, which it says had the biggest impact on in-game spending, especially across more casual players.
As such, mobile gaming experienced the biggest decline in the UK at 3% in 2022 to £1.66bn, as younger and older players experienced decreased social time. The mobile games market was also impacted by changes to privacy rules on iOS, which disrupted the ability for publishers to target specific types of consumers.
The console gaming market declined 1% in 2022 to £2.89 billion from £2.92 billion in 2021. Ampere’s data shows that spending on both full games and in-game and DLC declined.
The decline was contributed to by the aging Switch platform, intermittent first-party game releases, and the ongoing lack of availability of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, the data suggests.
However, the drop in console spending was offset by increased spending on subscription services, without which the console market declined 3.2%.
Although games subscription volume was down year-on-year across all services – shedding around 300k paying subscriptions by the end of 2022 – overall spending was up, as higher tier services on Game Pass, PlayStation Plus and Switch delivered higher spending per subscriber.
The PC gaming market across all distribution channels declined 1.2% in 2022 to £815 million from £825 million in 2021.