Gaming has been bigger than the music and movie industries for some time now, but now our favourite hobby has reached another huge milestone. Videogames now earn more revenue than the music and video industries combined here in the UK. Over half of all money spend on entertainment is spent on games.
According to the report from the Entertainment Retailer’s Association (ESA), videogames now account for 51.3% of the entertainment market. Unsurprisingly, physical game sales are on a rapid decline, accounting for just 20% of all videogame sales in the UK. Naturally, the remaining 80% was taken up by digital downloads. Physical sales shrank 2.8% year on year while digital sales increased 12.5%. Could the market now be ready for disc-less consoles?
A grand total of £3.86 billion was spent on games in 2018, £2.33 billion on video, and just £1.33 billion on music. It must be all that Denuvo protection that’s done it, else we’d all be pirating all our games for nothing. Yeah, that definitely makes sense.
“The games industry has been incredibly effective in taking advantage of the potential of digital technology to offer new and compelling forms of entertainment,” said ERA CEO Kim Bayley. “Despite being the youngest of our three sectors, it is now by far the biggest.”
The biggest gaming hits do still rely prominently on physical sales though. FIFA 19 was the bestselling game of the year in the UK, with 75% of the sales coming from physical copies.
That aside, gaming has evidently become a mammoth entertainment industry, quite probably the biggest the world. It’s kind of old news, we all know it, but games are now about as mainstream as it gets.
What I still don’t understand is how gaming is still treated like some odd, alien entity on any mainstream telly, at least here in the UK. Most of the news programmes have entertainment reporters who spend 10 minutes talking about what dress Ariana Grande wore on the red carpet, or what’s happening in Eastenders, but they almost never talk about games. Aside from how Fortnite is rotting our children’s brains, that is. It's all a bit out of whack but I'm sure we'll get there eventually.