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Covid pushes UK video games market to record £7bn – but games sales fall | Games

The UK video video games market hit a brand new document of £7.16bn final 12 months because the pandemic continued to gasoline an unprecedented growth in house leisure, with players speeding to replenish on new consoles and digital actuality equipment at the same time as general gross sales of video games fell.

Lockdown circumstances have made gaming one of many greatest pandemic winners with the worth of the UK market now a 3rd greater than in 2019 earlier than the coronavirus disaster hit and value greater than the music and video streaming markets mixed.

The quantity spent by gaming followers – on every part from new consoles, software program and cellular video games to themed occasions, toys and magazines – rose 1.9% 12 months on 12 months beating expectations that the market would slide following the gaming gold rush on the top of the pandemic in 2020.

Role-play in Grand Theft Auto V
Function-play in Grand Theft Auto V. {Photograph}: Rockstar Games

The general market rose regardless of a 6.3% fall within the sale of online game software program to £4.28bn, with the preferred titles together with Digital Arts’ Fifa 22, Activision Blizzard’s Name of Obligation: Vanguard and Take-Two Interactive’s Grand Theft Auto V.

“The important story here is how much of the lockdown related boost seen in 2020 has been successfully retained during 2021’s ‘year of correction’,” mentioned Steven Bailey, a senior analyst at Omdia.

The attractiveness of the gaming market – which is value virtually £1.8bn yearly greater than 2019 – has sparked a wave of consolidation with US and Chinese language gaming firms forking out greater than £2bn on British video video games makers over the past two years.

The expansion available in the market final 12 months was underpinned by continued sturdy demand from players for brand new consoles, the PlayStation 5, Xbox Sequence X/S and extra just lately the Nintendo Swap OLED version, which grew by a 3rd to £1.13bn.

There was additionally vital progress in digital actuality {hardware}, similar to headsets, with gross sales up 42% to £183m as players more and more embrace new applied sciences.

Income from cellular video games maintained its pandemic lockdown degree remaining flat at £1.46bn whereas licensed toys and merchandise grew 34% to £159m, largely because of the recognition of Pokemon.

“The UK is a nation that loves its video games and we should be proud of the positive contribution that this sector makes to the economy, our culture and to wider society,” mentioned Jo Twist, the chief govt of the UK gaming physique Ukie, which publishes the annual report.

The lockdown growth in video video games has sparked a wave of consolidation with the success of British video games makers making the UK a primary goal of international patrons with deep pockets.

In December 2020, California-based EA paid £945m for Southam, England-based Codemasters, the maker of the Formulation One collection of racing video games.

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Six months later China’s Tencent paid £919m for the Sheffield-based, London-listed video video games developer Sumo Group.

And in March final 12 months, Epic, the maker of the worldwide hit Fortnite, acquired the UK-based Mediatonic, the creator of the lockdown smash hit Fall Guys.

In January, Microsoft topped the most recent spherical of consolidation with a $70bn (£53bn) deal to purchase Activision Blizzard, the writer of mega franchises together with Name of Obligation, World of Warcraft and Sweet Crush, in its biggest-ever deal and the largest-ever takeover within the tech and gaming sectors.

High 10 promoting video video games within the UK in 2021 (bodily and digital copies mixed)

  1. Fifa 22

  2. Grand Theft Auto V

  3. Fifa 21

  4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  5. Name of Obligation: Black Ops Chilly Battle

  6. Spider-Man: Miles Morales

  7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

  8. Minecraft

  9. Pink Useless Redemption 2

Supply: Leisure Retailers Affiliation

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