May UK games market off to poor start

Last week UK retail sold the lowest number of games in almost five years.

573,506 games were sold through UK shops last week, a week-on-week drop of 19 per cent and the lowest sales figure since June 2006.

The UK games market value also dropped last week, 22 per cent to 12.8m. This is the smallest value figure recorded all year. However, it’s still not as low as the 11.8m generated the week before Halo: Reach was released last year.

The sales slump has been blamed on the warm weather, the general downturn in consumer spending and a lack of new software released last week.

Retail will be hoping this is the calm before the storm, as there are a number of promising blockbuster titles scheduled for the coming weeks – including Disney’s LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and Bethesda’s action FPS Brink, both of which hit retail shelves today).

However, May’s big title arrives next week in the form of Rockstar Games’ L.A. Noire. The detective action thriller is gaining plenty of press coverage, and the publisher is backing it with promotional videos, as well as ads in print, online, on TV and outdoors.

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