The UK games industry may be worth a record-breaking £4.33bn according to Ukie's annual industry valuation this morning, but a new report from IHS Markit paints a slightly gloomier picture for the worldwide console market.
The worldwide console market shrunk by 2.5 per cent in 2016, contracting to a consumer spend figure of $34.7bn. That's across hardware, content and services. This was a result of both a lower volume of console hardware sales and falling hardware prices, which fell to $10.5bn in 2016, a fall of 18 per cent year-on-year.
However, the good news is that IHS expects 2017 to be a rebound year for the worldwide games industry, thanks to the launch of the Nintendo Switch and the ongoing growth in the digital console business.
Indeed, games content spending helped mitigate a large part of 2016's fall in hardware spending, as both physical and digital media combined reached a sales value of $21.6bn – an increase of 5.6 per cent year-on-year. Sales value of platform subscriptions also showed strong growth thanks to the increased install base for Sony's PS4, and consumer spending on console platform subscriptions reached a record $2.8bn. That's a growth of 14 per cent year-on-year.
IHS also states that Sony's overall dominance of the gaming landscape is set to continue in 2017. In 2016, Sony had a 57 per cent share of the console market, contributing $19.7bn of spending on console hardware, games content and services.
Of that figure, $17.8bn came entirely from the PS4, giving the console a 51 per cent share of the total console market. The PS4 was also responsible for almost double the sales value of hardware, content and services compared to the Xbox One, and ended the year with an install base of 53m, compared to Xbox One's 27.6m.
As a result, IHS predicts Sony will be well-placed to break a console market sales value of $20bn this year if it manages to continue driving its digital console business, which is currently worth $4.4bn excluding platform subscriptions. Nintendo's fortunes also look to be on the mend, according to IHS' data, potentially reaching a console market sales value of $5bn by the end of 2017, while Microsoft is forecast to his just over $10bn.