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Nearly all of UK's 2022 games sales were digital downloads

UK players spent 2022 buying games from their phone or consoles instead of dealing with traffic and physical lines.

Justin Carter

January 10, 2023

2 Min Read
Cover art for Sony Santa Monica's God of War: Ragnarök.

In the United Kingdom, almost all video game sales during 2022 were done digitally. According to the digital Entertainment and Retail Association (ERA)'s preliminary report for 2022, 89.5 percent of games sold consisted of digital downloads, and the remaining 10.5 percent took place at physical retailers. 

Overall, the UK had £4.7 billion ($5.7 billion) in game sales last year, up 2.3 percent from 2021 and a number higher than that of films or music. According to the ERA, games was the largest of the "three core sectors" of entertainment, and made up 42.1 percent of the UK's overall home entertainment revenue for the year.

With how easy it can be to buy or pre-order a digital game compared to physically going to a store, and particularly during the holidays, these statistics aren't too surprising to hear. Games have consistently had higher revenue than movies and music for 11 years straight, and in 2019 began to account for over half of the UK's entire entertainment market

Since the pandemic and the UK's 2019 recession, video game revenue has gone up 24 percent. Four years ago, the industry's revenue was at £3.76 million.

Console games made up most of these digital sales at £724.7, up by 12.2 percent from 2021. The biggest-selling console game in the region was Electronic Arts' FIFA 23, which ERA claims sold 2.39 million units across digital and physical formats. 

Even so, console game sales were behind sales for mobile and tablet games. Revenue for those titles came to £1.49 million, up by 3.2 percent from 2021. Unlike with console sales, however, the ERA didn't disclose what the biggest-selling mobile or tablet title was for 2022.  

"While growth at 2.3% was lower than that of video or music, its scale is enormous and in terms of innovation and excitement it continues to set the pace for the entire entertainment sector," wrote ERA CEO Kim Bayley. 

The ERA's full report will be published on March 1, which should provide further insight into the country's game sales and spending habits for 2022. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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