Modern Warfare 3 emerged triumphant, but it was EA that was last year's real victor. MCV analyses the full 2011 GfK?Chart-Track charts to unearth the winners and losers in a challenging year for the boxed games market.
It was another year in which Call of Duty and FIFA take the top two places in the GfK Chart-Track Top 100. The two games between them accounted for 10 per cent of the 55m games sold last year.
ACTIVISION's Modern Warfare 3 sold over 3.1m units, a mighty impressive figure but slightly less than the 3.26m games Black Ops sold the year before.
FIFA 12 meanwhile shifted 2.44m games, 50,000 more copies than its predecessor. ELECTRONIC?ARTS was the only publisher to have two games that sold over 1m units with its FPS Battlefield 3 (No.3) selling 1.3m copies since its October launch. As a result, EA was comfortably the biggest publisher of 2011, and in total had 20 games in the Top 100.
It is worth noting the phenomenal success for small publisher 505 GAMES. The company's Zumba Fitness (No.4) shifted almost 1.2m games for the year and topped the Wii charts. The title benefited from a lack of new software during the summer and scored 13 weekly No.1s in the process.
In a clear sign of how important Q4 is to the UK games market, eight of the 2011 Top Ten were released during the final three months of the year. And 51 per cent of the UK trade's annual revenue was generated during this period.
The only two games not to have been released during Q4 and still break the Top Ten is the aforementioned Zumba and ROCKSTAR's L.A. Noire, which is also the highest charting new IP. The game was released in May.
Otherwise, there isn't a great deal of new IP in this year's chart - the notable exceptions being THQ's Homefront at No.25, DEEP?SILVER's Dead Island at No.31 and two Bethesda titles (Rage at No.33 and Brink at No.39).
BETHESDA enjoyed a strong year during 2011, breaking into the Top Ten publishers at No.10. Aside from the two new IPs mentioned above, the firm's biggest hit was Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The acclaimed action RPG sold 1.14m games last year, proving to the industry that you can come out during the same week as Call of Duty and prosper.
LEGO developer TRAVELLER'S?TALES had five games in the Top 100. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean was the top seller at No.14.
Meanwhile, the dance craze continues in the charts. Just Dance 3 from UBISOFT was the biggest selling dance title, and sold over 900,000 units last year.
UK games market in 2011
The tough economy combined with the late stage in the console cycle took its toll on the boxed games market. The combined software, hardware and accessories markets generated 2.52bn, a 13 per cent drop over 2010.
The software market dipped seven per cent year-on-year to 1.42bn (although it was down 12 per cent in units). EA sold the most games, with Xbox 360 the the No.1 console in terms of software market share.
The accessories market was down 17 per cent year-on-year to 453m (or 13 per cent down to 22.4m units). Motion controllers accounted for 11 per cent of the accessories market in 2011 (units) and a huge 27 per cent by revenue.
A clear sign of the industry's position in the console cycle is the hardware figures, down 19.3 per cent to 646m, and that's despite the arrival of Nintendo 3DS.
The Brits dominated the DVD and Blu-ray charts last year, with British movies accounting for 80 per cent of the Top Ten (Tangled and Transformers are the only two not classed as British films).
The disc-based market was down 7.2 per cent (volume) and 4.9 per cent (value) year-on-year, but DVD and Blu-ray are still comfortably the most popular way to watch video entertainment ahead of digital and rental. Digital, however, is in growth says IHS Screen Digest, which estimates that downloads and digital rentals grew 12 per cent to 71 million transactions.
Adele's album 21 was the best selling entertainment property in the UK for the entire of 2011. And it beat Call of Duty.
Overall, the music market wasn't as strong, however. Combined sales of digital and physical albums fell 5.6 per cent to 113.2m units last year.
Digital album sales rolls 26.6 per cent to 26.6m, while sales of physical albums decline 12.6 per cent over 2010 to 86.2m units.Physical albums are still the No.1 choice for consumers, accounting for 76.1 per cent of the market.
However, digital dominates the singles market a with just a fraction of sales coming in the physical space. Sales of singles grew 10 per cent year-over-year to 177.9m units.