While the rise of online casino platforms and mobile gaming remains a huge talking point within the sector, gameplay of all types continues to dominate the entertainment landscape in the UK. This was borne out by a recent report compiled by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), which listed the top 20 media releases from 2015.
In fact, games accounted for five of the top entertainment releases and three of the top five. Electronic Arts’ FIFA 16 claimed second place with a total of 2,516,079 sales last year, followed closely by Activision Blizzards’ Call of Duty: Black Ops III in third with 1,928,813 sales.
Fallout 4 was back in fifth place, with the Bethesda Softworks’ release selling 1,126,929 titles last year. Star Wars Battlefront and Grand Theft Auto V also featured in the top 10, with gaming competing aggressively with films and outperforming music sales. This is just another piece of data that highlights the incredible rising of gaming, across console and desktop platforms in addition to mobile.
From a digital perspective, for example, mobile and tablet gaming revenues rose by 17% last year. Tablet performance is particularly strong, with dedicated gaming devices such as the Nvidia Shield offering this segment of the market an opportunity to double its revenues between 2014 and 2018 (to 8.18 billion Euros). The hybrid nature of these devices tends to offer the ideal balance between smartphones and desktops, and this channel is likely to grow exponentially in the next decade.
Overall, gaming as a whole also performed exceptionally well relative to other entertainment segments. In terms of specific figures, gaming revenues rose by 10% year-on-year to £2.8 billion in 2015, contrasting sharply with corresponding increases of 3.5% and 1.5% in the fields of music and video respectively. This trend was undoubtedly exacerbated by the emergence of live streaming service Twitch, which has created a new and lucrative platform for global gaming.
Despite the success of console and desktop games as a whole in 2015, physical game sales actually declined by 2% to £927 million year-on-year during the last 12 months, generating £927 million in total. This was far less than the revenue generated by the digital segment of the market, which enjoyed huge growth in 2015 and recorded earnings of nearly £1.9 billion. In fact, this amount was more than the video and music industries combined, and this will come as a surprise to even seasoned industry experts.
These two trends perhaps tell us more about the market than any other, both in terms of the direction that gaming will take in the future and the sheer size of the opportunity for developers. We are clearly seeing developers begin to prioritise the mobile channel, for example, while the rise of cross-platform gaming is also beginning to take hold. The limitless potential of future market growth is also clear, as gaming continues to outperform all other entertainment segments.