Over two thirds of UK games developers are now working on digital games, with only a third left to focus solely on retail games.
The findings come from trade association TIGA, which claims that the numbers are symptomatic of a shift away from traditional retail models.
"TIGA's new research shows that in the UK digital distribution is in the ascent and retail is in sharp decline,” TIGA CEO Richard Wilson stated.
Four-fifths of new UK game companies are working exclusively or in part on network gaming, such as mobile, massively multiplayer and social gaming.
TIGA wants to see a flourishing developer and digital publisher sector, with rising numbers of start-ups and growing sustainable studios and declining business mortality rates. The rise in network gaming offers the opportunity to achieve these objectives.”
The chairman of TIGA's self-publishing committee and nDreams MD Patrick O'Luanaigh added: "For too long developers have laboured under the traditional ‘give your IP away, never see royalties' model. So TIGA strongly supports the trend towards online gaming and self-publishing.
Online gaming can deliver greater company stability and revenue sustainability for studios. This is because studios can circumvent traditional publisher business models and build relationships directly with customers. Network gaming businesses can create original games, retain their IP and attain greater financial stability.”