The UK market won’t recapture the Wii heyday of 2008 for some time, according to Screen Digest.
During last week’s London Games Conference senior analyst Ben Keen revealed that even as digital sales grow, and reach parity with boxed products, a spending gap in year-on-year comparisons will emerge.
“In the next five years we are looking at some overall declines in the market,” he said. “The peak was 2008 – an all-time peak. We are looking at a growing amount of decline over the next couple of years, but then slowing down on the assumption that more consoles will come in 2013 or 2014, maybe even the back end of 2012. That means we won’t see growth until 2015.”
In the meantime, “there are some big structural challenges facing the industry, but some real opportunities,” Keen added.
“Gaming content is arriving in the home through different means,” he said, pointing to the growth of internet TVs, set-top boxes, laptops and tablets.
“But the bad news is that there will be a spending gap even if you add together the physical market, in decline, and the digital market.”
Keen tipped Kinect, Move and 3DS as key to keeping Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo relevant – and detailed Screen Digest projections for digital spending via consoles.
He explained: “The great strength of consoles is that they are connected platforms. We’ll have 70m connected consoles worldwide by the end of 2010. That means the spending on consoles digitally is up – by 2014 23 per cent of money spent on console games will be digitally.”
Keen said that by 2014 over £600m will be spent a year on games content through subscriptions, item sales, on-demand content and mobile.