Why it matters: With downloadable and online-only games becoming increasingly popular, it’s starting to look more likely that there’ll come a day when discs are no more. The move to digital-only is affecting the UK, where pre-owned software sales have fallen 30.8 percent year-on-year.
A report by trade body UKIE reveals that the country’s gaming market is now valued at a record £5.7 billion ($7.44 billion), marking a 10 percent increase over the previous year. That figure includes more than just games and hardware; it also covers gaming “culture” such as toys, magazines, and events.
Unsurprisingly, software made up the majority of that money, bringing in over £4 billion for the first time—a YoY jump of 10 percent. Hardware sales, meanwhile, increased 10.7 percent to £1.57 billion, £702 million of which came from consoles.
The value of the second-hand market, however, was down to £67.9 million in 2018 from £98.2 million the year before. That fall is doubtlessly linked to the rise in digital and online revenues, which reached a record of £2.01 billion.
With digital storefronts such as Steam and the Epic Games Store, downloads have been PC users' preferred method of buying games for many years, and it's starting to look like consoles owners are going down the same path. Additionally, online-only games such as PUBG and Fortnite are generating huge amounts of revenue, while subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass are also drawing consumers away from pre-owned titles.
Another area that saw a decline was virtual reality, with sales down 20 percent since 2017. It seems that we’re still waiting for the killer app that justifies the high price of VR hardware, which is even more expensive in the UK.
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