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Physical game sales are dying off in the UK, according to ERA

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Digital video game sales make up nine out of 10 video game sales in the UK, according to the digital entertainment and retail association (ERA). It’s important to note that this includes mobile games, PC games as well as console gaming, if console gaming was taken alone, it’s unlikely digital downloads would make up such a large proportion.

Specifically, ERA found that 89.5% of games sold were sold as digital downloads and the other 10.5% were physical sales. Apparently, 30% of the sales were mobile app sales which show its growing importance in the gaming sector. Many more people have smartphones than consoles so getting started with games on mobile is easier.

The ERA’s chief executive, Kim Bayley, said that while growth in gaming was slower than video and music last year, the sector is actually the leader in the entertainment market. Bayley described gaming as the “often-unheralded leader” in the entertainment market.

One notable aspect of the figures put out by the ERA is that a lot of the figures about digital downloads are just estimates. Bayley said that in the past when sales were physical, it was easier to track sales. Now, it’s more difficult because digital stores like Valve’s Steam do not have to issue their sales figures. To estimate game sales, ERA uses data from a market research company called Omdia whose data was described as “the industry benchmark”.

With the introduction of the latest Xbox consoles, Microsoft took the decision to release the Xbox Series S which excludes a disc tray. It’s unclear whether Microsoft anticipated lower physical sales, or whether it has nudged digital sales along more as a result.




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