Booming video games industry makes up half the UK entertainment market

James Warrington
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The booming games industry is worth £3.86bn, more than double its value in 2007 (Source: Getty)

The video games sector now accounts for more than half the UK’s entertainment market and is bigger than video and music combined, new figures have revealed.

The booming games industry is worth £3.86bn, more than double its value in 2007, and now makes up over 51 per cent of the entire UK entertainment market, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

The ever-popular football game Fifa 19 was the best-selling console game in 2018, while Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 also boosted the sector’s growth.

The record-breaking figures come despite the physical console and PC games market shrinking 2.8 per cent and relatively modest digital growth of 12.5 per cent.

Moreover, the report does not include popular free games such as Fortnite.

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

Overall, the UK entertainment industry enjoyed its sixth consecutive year of growth, boosted by the rise of digital streaming services.

Digital revenues accounted for more than 76 per cent of entertainment sales value in 2018, the report found.

The rising popularity of streaming services such as Netflix and Now TV helped boost digital revenues by 26 per cent to £1.7bn.

Despite this, physical sales still proved crucial for the year’s biggest movie hits. The Greatest Showman, which topped the best-seller list for 2018, gained almost three-quarters of its sales from physical formats.

But the rise of digital services is already taking its toll on traditional retailers, with music high street music giant HMV falling into administration last week.