Call it a comeback: 2013 in numbers

The UK physical games market staged a comeback in 2013 with the help of new consoles, Grand Theft Auto V and FIFA. MCVanalyses the figures.

It wasnot quite a full recovery for the UK games market in 2013, but it was a record-breaking year nevertheless.

Grand Theft Auto V took the plaudits becoming the fastest selling launch in history. It sold more in week one than Call of Duty: Ghosts, FIFA 14, Batman: Arkham Origins, Pokemon X, Pokemon Y, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Battlefield 4 put together, and by the end of the year had shifted an incredible 3.67m units. That’s over 1m more than its nearest rival.

Not that its nearest rival had a bad 2013. FIFA 14 had a softer launch than in previous years, with sales down 24 per cent after week one. But by the end of the year it had recovered (thanks to an Xbox One hardware bundle) and sold 2.65m units, putting it ahead of what FIFA 13 had managed at the same point a year before.

In the end EA retained its position as the UK’s most successful games publisher, although it was fought all the way by Take-Two, which managed second place for the first time in over five years thanks to GTA V and BioShock Infinite.

Overall, the UK boxed software market declined slightly in 2013. Revenue made from boxed game sales fell slightly by three per cent, while unit sales were down a more significant 13 per cent to 34.5m games sold.

As this suggests, the average cost of physical games last year increased quite significantly to 29.42. That’s a huge 3 increase over the year before. The reason for this is due to the decline of the budget games sector, plus the launch of pricer video games on PS4 and Xbox One.

It was better news in the hardware front and this was entirely down to the eagerly awaited arrival of Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Together the next-gen devices sold almost 900,000 units (530,000 PS4s and 364,000 Xbox Ones), but it was actually the Nintendo 3DS family of consoles that were 2013’s biggest sellers. Xbox 360 remained the UK’s No.1 games console last year in terms of units. Overall 2.9m games machines were sold last year, a rise of four per cent over 2012.

A rise in hardware sales had a positive impact on the accessories market, although it was primairly first party controllers and chargers that sold best.

The other big winners of the year included Xbox 360, which once again dominated the software share by format charts and was the No.1 selling console. Meanwhile, Warner Bros continues its rise up the publisher rankings. The Batman and LEGO publisher has risen from No.12 to No.6 in just four years. Software data courtesy of UKIE/GfK Chart-Track. Console and accessory stats via GfK Chart-Track.


The boxedsoftware market declined in 2013, although this is mostly due to a drop in the sales of budget games. Revenue generated from full priced games actually increased year over year.

Meanwhile, the arrival of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had a huge impact on console hardware sales, up 38 per cent in revenue, and accessory sales benefitted sightly as well with Xbox One and PS4 peripherals selling strongly.


GTA?V shocked us all by not only becoming the biggest entertainment launch of all time, but doing it by some margin. FIFA also performed well. However, sales of other traditional big sellers such as Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield and Just Dance were down over previous years.

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