UK gamers spent £3.2 billion on gaming in 2011

UK retailers would have you think gaming is on the decline. Statistics show otherwise.

It’s well known GAME and other dedicated videogame retailers have had having a rough time of late. All have been very quick and eager to blame a decline in the market for gaming in the UK and as excuses go it makes sense, thanks to the tough economic climate we’re currently stuck in. According to MCV UK however the market for gaming in the UK is actually rather healthy, with gamers spending over a staggering £3 billion on consoles, peripherals, games and other gaming-related frippery in 2011.

The biggest chunk of all that cash – a huge £1.42 bn – was spent on regular boxed software sold in high street shops, at supermarkets and through online retailers like Amazon and Play. This category doesn’t include games bought on digital distribution platforms like Steam, GOG, Desura and so forth, which are instead counted towards the £520 million spent on “online games.” That broad umbrella term also covers Xbox Live subscriptions, casual and social gaming, streaming services like OnLive and MMO subscriptions. Your Angry Birds vs Zombie Plants and other such mobile gaming fare, in a diabolical alliance with in-game purchases, racked up a cool £158 million between them.

All that’s just on games! We all spent £2.2 million attending events like the Eurogamer Expo last year and £7.5 million on spin-off game to movie adaptations and gaming soundtracks. According to MCV supreme overlord Michael French the bulk of the £646 million spent on peripherals and accessories came from headset, microphone and points cards sales, with more than a little help from Skylanders. Speaking of toys it seems we can’t get enough of them either since we forked out an impressive £60 million on Halo action figures, plush Marios and other such tat.

It all paints the damningly clear picture that gaming is as popular as ever here in Blighty, and we’re not going to let anything like a crumbling economy dissuade us from killing time on new and old games. So why then did the likes of GAME have such a miserable year? The demand is clearly there as is the money, so the problem must clearly lie in areas like customer service, competitiveness and other business-end stuff. I suppose admitting that would mean having to admit your business model was outdated and…oh I see. Anyhow, the next time a till-jockey at your local branch of a nationwide games retail chain tells you people aren’t buying games any more, show them a laminated print out of MCV’s charming little infographic and tell them they’re full of it.

Show them, don’t give it to them. Paper and laminate don’t come cheap.

Source: MCV

Matt McDermott

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