The UK games market is now bigger than video and music combined

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Games accounted for more than half of the entertainment market in the UK, dwarfing video and music, according to a new report (opens in new tab) from the Entertainment Retailers Association. The report attributes much of the success of the industry to console downloads and mobile gaming. 

This is despite the fact that the physical market is shrinking, while digital sales grew to a “modest” 12.5 percent. “[T]he sheer scale of the games market is such that it was enough to make it bigger than video and music combined,” reads the report.  

And even with physical sales being down, the likes of Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 still sold over a million copies on PS4 and Xbox One. But the reason the market has more than doubled since 2007 is largely down to the rise of digital.

“The games industry has been incredibly effective in taking advantage of the potential of digital technology to offer new and compelling forms of entertainment,” ERA CEO Kim Bayley said. “Despite being the youngest of our three sectors, it is now by far the biggest.”

The report’s section on games is quite brief, however, and doesn’t explore what seem like more interesting changes than simple growth, namely the dominance of games like Fortnite and the increasing prominence of games as a service. The transformation even when compared to just a few years ago has been pretty huge. It wasn’t that long ago that we never had to have any discussions about loot boxes, and now they’re being talked about (opens in new tab) in government (opens in new tab). I miss those days. 

"Games are big now" is kind of old news, granted, especially when they're seeping into everything and we've got League of Legends characters starting pop groups (opens in new tab) and interactive fiction being streamed on Netflix (opens in new tab). Still, it's interesting to see how the numbers stack up against other entertainment mediums.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.