There’s no denying that the video games industry has faced tough times in Britain but things are certainly nowhere near as bleak some would have you think. MCV highlights some of our nation’s recent triumphs...
HALF OF THE UK POPULATION ARE GAMERS
We’ve known for years that gaming is not confined to the darkened recesses of teenage boys’ bedrooms, but a recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau shows just how widespread the pastime has become on our shores.Out of an estimated UK resident population of 62m, 32.9m have said they play iPad, Android, PlayStation and Xbox 360 games online. The overall age ranges stretch from as young as eight up to 65 years old – and 49 per cent of them are female. With such a mainstream audience actively discussing there gaming habits, who says there isn’t a market out there?
OUR CONSUMERS ARE HUNGRY FOR NEW HARDWARE
The original PlayStation launched in the UK sixteen years ago, and sold 30,000 units in just ten days. By contrast, 3DS sold 113,000 units in the UK during its launch weekend alone. And thanks to motion controllers such as Kinect, the peripherals market is just as strong.
THE SUCCESS OF EUROGAMER EXPO AND GAMEFEST
The retailer’s showcase drew in crowds of 30,000 attendees, while Eurogamer pulled in 35,000 the very next week. And organisers of the latter told MCV that only 5.3 per cent attended both events – leaving a combined total of 63,145 avid gamers across the two shows.
UK GAMERS WILL SPEND BIG THIS CHRISTMAS
There’s nothing like pre-orders to show how much interest new releases are generating. Battlefield 3 has already garnered 1.5m pre-orders, and Activision told MCV earlier this year that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is tracking well ahead of the record-breaking Black Ops. Meanwhile, THQ says Saints Row: The Third is on course to be the company’s most pre-ordered title to date. Throw in strong early interest for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Uncharted 3, Zelda: Skyward Sword, and this Christmas is shaping up to be a belter.
WE ARE THE HOME OF FOOTBALL FANS
If there’s one game you can rely on to deliver at retail, it’s FIFA. And you can guarantee the UK makes up a significant portion of the title’s sales. Not only is the flagship footie title a guaranteed best-seller every year, it’s also a great indication of how the market has grown in general. For example, FIFA 06 sold 250,000 units in its first week. Just six years later, the latest edition has smashed that record, selling almost four times as much less time.
MIND CANDY IS A MASSIVE UK EXPORT
The UK social gaming firm’s influence has spread around the world, thanks to its flagship IP Moshi Monsters. This online kids phenomenon boasts 50m registered users – in fact, over half of Britain’s six to 12-year-olds have created profiles on the site.And the brand’s ventures into other fields have been even more impressive. Plush toys, books, trading cards, stickers and other merchandise can be found in Waterstones, Clinton Cards, WH Smiths and other mainstream retailers that few games firms have gained access to since Nintendo.Additionally, the official Moshi Monsters magazine is the biggest children’s publication in the UK, with a monthly readership of almost 114,000 people. Now the company is pushing forward with Moshi TV and the franchise’s first DS game.
WE HAVE GREAT DEVELOPERS
Not all of the world’s greatest studios have moved to Montreal. The UK still has a strong development base thanks to Lionhead, Rockstar North, Rockstar Leeds, Rare, Jagex, Rocksteady, Traveller’s Tales, Mind Candy, Eurocom, Media Molecule, Criterion... to name but a few. And this local talent is working hard to keep the High Street supplied with good quality product. Within the next few weeks alone, retailers can expect such homegrown hits as Batman: Arkham City, Football Manager, Kinect Sports: Season Two, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7.
OUR GAMERS ARE DRIVING THE DANCE GENRE
The music genre hasn’t collapsed. Far from it. In fact it’s stronger than ever, with GfK Chart-Track data showing that the music games market had its best year to date in 2010 thanks to Just Dance and Just Dance 2. In 2011, this has only grown with Ubisoft’s ever-expanding dance portfolio and new competitors such as best-selling dance-based workout game Zumba Fitness. Earlier this year, MCV research revealed that 1m dance games are being sold every month. And with more than ten new dance games hitting shelves this quarter, retailers can expect good things from the music market in 2012 and beyond.