UK console sales have increased three percent in 2018 as compared to the previous year. While the gaming machines themselves have done well for brick and mortar retailers, the products used with them have not; physical game sales have also gone down by roughly the same percentage.
2018 has been an eventful year in gaming and we’ve seen some pretty interesting releases across all platforms. This may have been a contributing factor to slightly improving UK consoles sales last year. According to GamesIndustry.biz, the PS4 moved over 1 million consoles in the United Kingdom throughout 2018. The Nintendo Switch was also an area of interest; while it was outsold by the PS4, it showed a growth of 20 percent in sales over 2017’s numbers. In total, nearly 2.5 million consoles were sold in 2018 throughout the United Kingdom.
While retailers may have appreciated the increased UK console sales, the physical software sales showed an overall decline of nearly three percent. The actual number of games sold was seven percent fewer than the sales of 2017, but this drop was offset by higher-priced products on store shelves. Nintendo Switch games were likely a contributor towards mitigating the loss due to the higher price of software for that platform. The Switch also happened to be the only console of the big three that increases its physical software sales: Nintendo Switch sales increased 90.1 percent over last year, bringing in 73.4 percent more revenue for retailers. Retailers depend on customers returning to buy games after they’ve picked up a console and it appears that digital sales may be keeping them at home for platforms other than the Switch.
Ultimately, the UK console sales numbers tell us that more gaming machines were sold in 2018 than 2017. Despite this fantastic news, physical game sales just haven’t kept pace as retailers may have hoped. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Fallout 76, Battlefield V, and FIFA 19 all sold fewer units than the predecessors in their respective franchises, likely leading to last year’s disappointing numbers. Plenty of gamers picked up new machines this year, and retailers can only hope that more of them will come back to stores to buy the games to go with them.