Digital game sales trumped physical in the UK last year, according to UK trade group

The London-based Entertainment Retailers Association reports today that for the first time ever, digital distribution accounted for the majority (58 percent) of UK game sales last year.

The Entertainment Retailers Association, a London-based trade group that aims to represent digital and physical retailers in the music, video and games markets of the United Kingdom, reports today that digital distribution accounted for the majority (58 percent) of UK game sales last year.

That's notable, especially for UK-oriented game devs, because the ERA claims that 2016 is the very first year in which the UK video game market became a predominantly digital business. 

However, we should point out that analysis is in turn based on UK video game market sales estimates from market research firms GfK and IHS, and encompasses revenue across mobile, PC and console platforms generated by sales of physical game discs, digital game copies and subscription services.

According to ERA estimates, last year physical game sales in the UK declined 16.4 percent year-over-year to £776 million ($962.4 million USD), while revenue generated by sales of digital games and subscriptions rose 12.1 percent to hit £2.1bn (~$2.6 billion USD.) It goes on to report the UK's biggest-selling game of 2016 was FIFA 2017 at 2.5 million units -- roughly the same as sales of its predecessor in the region the year prior.

It's worth noting that these are all preliminary estimates, and that ERA intends to confirm them in time for the 2016 review it aims to publish in March.

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