UK video games market falls 13% in 2011

The overall UK video game market was worth 2.52bn in 2011 according to the latest UKIE figures. That represents a year-on-year drop of 13 per cent from 2.88bn and a third year of decline.

In 2009 the UK market was worth 3.31bn and in 2008 it reached a record value of 4.034bn.

The physical UK software market in 2011 was worth 1.42bn, down seven per cent year-on-year. The console game software market was worth 1.35bn, with Xbox 360 being the only format that enjoyed a year of growth.

However, as highlighted by UKIE in its report, Q4 proved to be of vital importance to the industry. 51 per cent of the year’s total revenue was amassed in the period, with eight of 2011’s ten best-selling games being released in the period.

But that doesn’t mask the fact that in the prior three quarters pressured consumer spending and a too-slender boxed games release slate has contributed to market shrinkage.

Total hardware sales hit 646m. The accessories market fell 17 per cent to 453m, though in unit terms it was only down 13 per cent.

Motion controller devices accounted for 11 per cent of accessory unit sales and 27 per cent of its revenue. Traditional accessories such as joypads, steering wheels, headsets, cases and chargers saw their revenue fall 27 per cent.

Better news for motion controllers came from the software market, where motion-enabled games claimed 14.5 per cent of the software market. Last year that figure stood at 6.7 per cent.

The figures are poor compared to those seen in Japan, where the market fell by eight per cent year-on-year. However, Japan’s games industry was worth 3.808bn in 2011.

It needs to be noted, of course, that these figures apply to the physical market only. The booming digital sector, and the success of outlets such as the App Store, Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network and Steam, are not included.

In real terms the market may well have grown – which emphasises all the more the need for a unified, all-encompassing tracking system for the fragmented games sector.

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