Sales of video game software in the UK increased by 7.5 per cent to 2.5bn last year, says the Entertainment Retailer's Association.
As predicted, sales of physical (boxed) video games dropped year-on-year but only ever so slightly. Sales decreased 6.6 per cent to 948.5m. It's a little disappointing, but not surprising considering the quiet release schedule in 2014.
This decline is comfortably offset, however, by digital spend. Sales of digital games (including online, mobile and tablet) rose by 18.8 per cent year-on-year to 1.5bn. That means, in total, video game software sales in the UK were worth 2.452bn, an increase of 7.5 per cent over 2013.
The data means that video games were once again the biggest entertainment industry in the UK, ahead of music ($1.03bn) and movies (2.18bn). It's important to note, of course, that video games are significantly more expensive than either movies of music. In fact, the biggest selling entertainment product of the year was Disney's Frozen, which sold well above any other release in any other category.
Both music and movies saw minor declines in sales in 2014. Music sales dropped by 1.6 per cent, while movies slipped by 1.4 per cent.
The video game figures come from Chart-Track – which tracks retail data and is incredibly accurate, and IHS, which is estimating digital spend across online, mobile and tablet. IHS' data is not quite as reliable, but until games businesses start sharing their numbers, it's the most accurate figure we have.
2014 was a remarkably successful year for retailers and digital services as they continued to invest in the future of the entertainment business,” says ERA's director general Kim Bayley.
More than half of entertainment revenues now come from retail channels which did not even exist a decade ago.
Too often the debate about the future of entertainment is portrayed as a battle between physical and digital. This second successive year of growth demonstrates entertainment is becoming a mixed, multi-channel economy in which streaming, digital and physical formats can both prosper, each satisfying different consumer needs.”