Trade body ELSPA and market research company Chart-Track believe that video games are enjoying “a golden era in popularity” in the UK, with software sales for the first six months of 2008 up £738 million (approx. $1.47 billion), an increase of over 42% on 2007’s figures for the same period, for a total of 31.3 million units sold.
The two organizations attributed the unprecedented growth in sales to the Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, which accounted for £690 million (approx. $1.37 billion) of the total. PC games software, however, was down 29% compared to 2007’s half-year figures to £48 million (approx. $95.66 million).
Console hardware sales over the first half of 2008 also jumped up 27% to £513 million (approx. $1 billion), largely due to the Wii and Nintendo DS Life. In terms of units shifted, 3.1 million consoles sold in the first six months of 2008, up 41% on 2007’s 2.2 million.
Total sales from games, hardware, and accessories were at £1,452 million (approx. $2.89 billion), up 42% compared to the same period last year, which was at £1,022 (approx. $2.04 billion).
Said ELSPA director general Paul Jackson: "Games are now one of the most popular pastimes of the British – hence these remarkable figures. Our gamers are more mature than those of most countries – the average age of a player here is now 33 – and as our core gamers have grown up, so too have the revenues they bring in. Games are also proving themselves to be robustly recession-proof. Other retailers in the High Street have been struggling this year, but those selling games are not having such a tough time.
He concluded: “Britain leads the way across Europe – and one in three games sold across the EU is also developed here. The challenge now is to ensure our success is not taken for granted at home or undervalued in any way – and to ensure we have the home-grown talent to ensure we will still be leading the way five years down the road.”