Ukie: UK games market was worth £5.11bn in 2017

The UK games market in 2017 was worth a whopping £5.11bn, that’s up 12.4 per cent year-on-year with gains almost across the board (see below for the full infographic). UK trade body Ukie will reveal this morning.

The launch of the Switch was the main cause for hardware figures booming by a huge 29.9 per cent, with GfK’s Dorian Bloch commenting:

“These UK figures reveal a solid performance for the physical software market, boosted by a return to growth in the overall console hardware market for the first time since 2014. With Sony’s PS4 showing four consecutive years of over 1m units sold per year, a strong performance from Microsoft’s sub £200 Xbox One S and premium core gamer Xbox One X, plus the introduction of Nintendo’s Switch enjoying the best start for a Nintendo home console since the mighty Wii back in 2006, it is clear that the console gaming market is now enjoying a renaissance.”


While the Switch was also in part to thank for a boom in software sales, a far perkier slate of big releases was also a major factor. The results was boxed software sales were up by 3.1 per cent year-on-year, although still well down on 2014 and 2015 figures and we’d expect that trend to continue. Pre-owned fell by a whopping 15.1 per cent, most likely as consumers keep hold of ‘live’ titles they want to play in the longer term.

Digital and online sales had yet another year of growth, this time leaping up by 13.4 per cent to £1.6bn as both full games and microtransactions wooed consumers into spending more without leaving their homes. “Console games and premium PC titles earned 42 per cent of digital games revenue in the UK last year compared to 14 per cent worldwide and 34 per cent for Europe overall,” said Carter Rogers from SuperData Research.

Playing on the go was popular too, though, up 7.8 per cent as the nation’s love of mobile games grows to over £1bn a year.

PC gaming hardware had huge growth of 51 per cent. And while we don’t doubt that PUBG sold a lot of the hardware with its demanding technical specification and that esports drove up both hardware and peripheral sales, we shouldn’t discount the rampant cryptocurrency market buying up practically every top-end graphics card for many, many months last year. Great news for the manufacturers of such cards, but not necessarily a boon for the industry as a whole.

VR hardware grew by 23.5 per cent and pushed through the £100m barrier. Though with that kind of increase it’s not going anywhere fast, the evolving segment needs to see growth in multiples. Stronger software will be needed in 2018 to really step things up, though thankfully that does look to be coming.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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