The UK saw an increase in hardware sales in 2018, but also a decline in software sales.
The gaming industry in the United Kingdom was a mixed bag in 2018. Hardware sales actually increased year-over-year, but software found itself on the decline. Much of the blame can be placed on the continued rise of digital distribution as the UKIE doesn’t track digital sales.
Hardware saw a 3% increase in 2018 with a total of 2.5 million consoles sold during the calendar year. The PlayStation 4 remained the number one selling console and managed to increase its sales year-over-year, an impressive feat for a five year old console. It sold 1 million units during the year. The Switch saw a healthy increase of over 20%, though fell short of dethroning Sony’s console. It doesn’t appear the Xbox One saw any increase.
Software was less rosy with physical sales dropping 7.1%. While the rise of digital distribution takes some of the blame, it’s worth noting that fewer people showed up for some of the biggest games of the year. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Fallout 76, FIFA 19, and Battlefield V all fell short of their predecessors. Without digital sales included, it’s impossible to know how well games are truly performing in the UK.
2019 is upon us and we’ll have to see how things shape up. With a rumored new Switch model and speculation over the next PlayStation and Xbox, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with hardware. On the software side, numerous entries from storied franchises, including Gears of War, Call of Duty, Star Wars, The Division, Devil May Cry, and Kingdom Hearts among others launch this year.