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The UK video game market grew in 2023

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According to the recently published financial report by UKIE, 2023 was a very good year for gaming in the UK. Both Software and hardware sales, as well as the overall UK games market all increased compared to the figures from 2022.

The statistics for 2023 break down as follows; Software sales increased by 4.1% to £5.18 billion, hardware sales increased by just over 2.1% to £2.22 billion, The value of the UK games consumer market increased by 4.4% to £7.82 billion, while revenue from video game-related movies, TV shows, and soundtracks, was estimated to be £124 million.

Despite software sales being up by over 4% from the previous year, most of this increase came from the digital market. Compared to 2022, sales of physically boxed games decreased by a little more than 5% to £495 million, illustrating the continual decline in this side of the gaming industry.

With that said, the digital side of things looks better than ever all across the board. Both digital console software sales and digital PC software sales were up by 5.6% to £2.48 billion, and 4.5% to £684 million respectively. Sales of mobile games also grew by around 4.5% for a total of £1.52 billion in revenue.

Thanks primarily to the steady supply of PlayStation 5’s throughout 2023, hardware sales enjoyed the biggest increase, with revenue reaching over £951 million – a 12% increase from that of 2022. However, the same can’t be said for PCs. The platform’s revenue fell to £673 million, which is a significant 11% drop in sales from the year before.

As well as the sales success of the PlayStation 5 in 2023, the Nintendo Switch also remained a strong seller – even after seven years on the market – and platform staples such as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Pokémon: Scarlet and Violet greatly contributed to both digital and physical boxed sales overall.

Having said that, the PS4 and PS5 sold more games than any other platform, with titles such as Hogwarts Legacy, Spider-Man 2, EA Sports FC 24, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Diablo 4, being some of the year’s best-sellers. With more than 16 major titles released in 2023 – more than double that of 2022 – total software sales reached higher figures than any previous year on record.

This sales growth in 2023 also carried over to the accessory side of things. Compared to 2022, revenue generated from video game-related accessories increased by 3% to £402 million, while sales on VR hardware also rose by 11% reaching a total of £194 million for the year.

For the first time in the UK, income from video game-based TV shows and movies was also recorded and published. What’s now being referred to as the ‘broader game culture sector’ – which included all live-action enterprises, music, and merch – generated an estimated total revenue stream in 2023 of around £418 million.

Even though all indications show that the gaming industry in both the UK and the rest of the world is thriving, 2023 also experienced some concerning shake-ups and changes that may cause further worry for the industry moving forward.

With substantial layoffs, takeovers, and the ever-increasing influence of A.I. encroaching on the industry and the world at large, things could start to look very different in gaming over the next couple of years. Couple this with the fact that there are now no other major AAA releases or news of any new consoles scheduled until 2025 at the earliest, 2024 might prove to be one of the most uneventful and transitional years in gaming in recent memory.

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