Apparently people would rather watch TV (Credits: Getty Images)
For the first time since 2012, video games were not the highest-grossing form of digital entertainment in the UK.
Although it often comes as a surprise to non-gamers, video games have been the dominant form of media in the UK, and much of the rest of the world, for over a decade now. To be fair, it’s a difficult thing to measure, but at least in terms of revenue, video games normally always beat movies, TV, and music.
However, that wasn’t true in 2023. Despite being a bumper year for quality games it was video that brought in the most money last year, a category which includes TV subscriptions like Netflix and movies.
Video game sales saw an increase of 2.9%, to £4.74 billion, but that was beaten by video content, which grew 10% to £4.9 billion.
TV subscriptions account for 89% of the video market and are primarily responsible for the growth, making it the first time since 2012 that video games have not been the dominant media in the UK.
All entertainment saw an increase though, with music up 9.6% to its second best year ever and a total of £2.2 billion in 2023, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz.
As you can see, that means video games saw the smallest increase, which may relate to the fact that they’re generally much more expensive, in terms of individual purchases, than video or music.
Video games aren’t in any kind of crisis, as revenues are up 29.2% on pre-Covid 2019. But again, that’s a smaller increase than music at 38.8% and video at 88.3%.
92% of all entertainment sales now are digital, including streaming, but while the mainstream acceptance of subscriptions seems like it would benefit services such as Game Pass and PS Plus, evidence so far suggests that demand has already plateaued.
It is difficult to be sure, because Microsoft and Sony refuse to release up-to-date subscriber figures, but that alone suggests that take-up has not been what they hoped for – although Game Pass should see a significant boost when Call Of Duty becomes available on it.
Exactly why remains unclear, given both services offer good value for money, but it seems that in many cases people feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice, when many casual gamers only play two or three different games a year.
It’s interesting that that’s not generally considered a problem with TV, even if many are frustrated with the number of different subscriptions available, and the sales figures suggest the most popular brands are doing extremely well.
The main rival to PS5 and Xbox (Credits: Shutterstock / MAXSHOT.PL)
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