First CDs, then DVDs, now even video game makers are inconsolable as physical sales dive

 

Sales of video games collapsed last year hit by weak big name releases, a decline in shop space and gamers’ boredom with the existing generation of consoles, an industry body has revealed.

In its annual update, the Entertainment Retailers Association revealed that digital downloads of music, video and video games passed £1 billion in the UK for the first time in 2012.

However the milestone, achieved off the back of an 11 per cent rise in downloads, could not mask a tough time for the British entertainment industry as a whole, as a result of a larger fall in the market for physical CDs, DVDs and games, which still account for three-quarters of all sales.

In a tough year due to the squeeze on the “leisure wallet”, total sales of music, video and video games fell by 12 per cent to £4.21bn.

The music industry was hit hard by another slump in sales of album CDs, which were down by an eye-watering 19 per cent.

However the most surprising figure was the sharp decline in the consumption of video games, one of the UK’s strongest and most valuable creative industries, and a major exporter.

The market for all electronic games including special forces ‘shoot’em ups’ and more gentle puzzles, tumbled by 17 per cent from £1.93bn to £1.59bn.

The fall was much steeper than previous years, when sales ticked down down £2.04bn in 2009 to £1.93bn in 2011 with the slow migration to lower value digital gaming.

The Entertainment Retailers Association partly blamed the Olympics for putting video games producers off releasing blockbusters last summer. Kim Bayley, its chief executive, said: “The dearth of attractive releases during summer 2012 was clearly a significant factor.”

She also said that another factor was “the end of the console cycle”, with years having passed since Microsoft launched its XBox 360 in 2005 and Sony its Playstation 3 in 2006.

In addition, shelf space for video games had reduced as a result of the collapse of Game Group, which went into administration in March, when 277 Game and Gamestation shops were closed (a further 300 stores were re-opened under new owners).

The best-selling games last year were new versions of old franchises such as Call of Duty’s BlackOps 2 and Fifa 2013.

Calling for the industry to spice up its products and establish a more reliable conveyer belt of hits, Ms Bayley said: “Suppliers need to do more to re balance their release schedules and improve the quality of their releases. No retailer can afford to pay overheads on a store for 52 weeks of the year if all the key releases are going to be concentrated in the last quarter. And entrepreneurs will think twice about investing in new digital services if releases fail to excite the public.”

She added that the boredom message “appears to be getting through” to the industry and was “optimistic” about this year, when new releases will include Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, and new versions of the Tomb Raider and SimCity titles.

Sales of physical video games were down 26 per cent - a decline mirrored in music, where CD album sales fell by 11 per cent, according to figures for 2012 yesterday from the music industry body the BPI.

They showed that an ongoing rise in digital downloads of singles - which rose by 4.7 per cent in 2012 - could not offset the falls in the much larger market for CDs (which still remain popular with customers, accounting for 69 per cent of album sales). The falls have heaped trouble at the door of the struggling retailer HMV, whose shares fell a further 10 per cent yesterday.

A bright spot was the success of British acts, who - in the form of Emili Sande, Adele and Ed Sheeran - accounted for the top three best-selling albums in the UK.

Tony Wadsworth, the BPI’s chairman, said: “British artists continue to resonate strongly with music fans in their home territory... The domestic success of albums from Mumford & Son and One Direction as been replicated abroad - both British acts have achieved massive success in the US.”

The highest selling album of the year was Emili Sande’s Our Version of Events and the best-selling single “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Australian pop musician Gotye, according to figures from the Official Chart Company released by the BPI.

Biggest singles 2012: http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/the-official-top-40-biggest-selling-singles-of-2012-revealed-1784/

Biggest albums 2012: http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/the-official-top-40-biggest-selling-albums-of-2012-revealed-1785/

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...