Champions and heroes halt UK video games market collapse

UK games retail was rescued by the biggest licences in movies and sport last month, as it struggles through one of the weakest summer of sales in the industry’s history.

Physical game sales were down 29.2 per cent year-on-year last month, with just 1.65m games sold, according to UKIE GfK/Chart-Track.

But it could have been much worse had it not been for Warner’s Batman and Sega’s Olympics games. The two brands across their 12 SKUs accounted for almost one fifth of the entire UK market during July.

The Dark Knight Rises is on course to become this year’s biggest movie, with 40.9m already taken at the UK Box Office. And although not a direct tie-in, LEGO Batman 2 was also last month’s No.1 game. Furthermore, Batman: Arkham City has shot up the charts and is now at No.4 in this week’s Top 40, despite being released last year.

The Olympics are also having a big impact. Sega’s London 2012 tie-in was the No.2 video game for July and so far in August it is the No.1 seller, with Mario & Sonic at the London Olympics also in the Top Three.

And this should come as no surprise as 26.9m people watched the Opening Ceremony on BBC, while 17.1m people saw Mo Farah win the 10,000m last Saturday.

The Olympics titles have both helped to sustain sales through an otherwise quiet summer,” said Tesco’s games buyer Mark Burgess.

HMV’s head of games and technology Ewan Pinder added: I’m pleased to say we’ve been doing really well with both Olympics and Batman, which we’ve featured in our Xbox bundles and in our TV advertising. It goes without saying that the Olympics title has really picked up and is currently benefiting from the halo effect of the London 2012 Games, which hopefully will continue for quite a while longer.”

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