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Video Games officially No.1 past time in the UK

SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
edited November 2008 in Games and Technology
Or at least that's how they billed the story on the morning news.

They are set to become the most lucrative media market on the high street this year according to a market research firm, though.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7709298.stm
UK sales of games will outstrip music and video for the first time in 2008, says a report from Verdict Research.

A huge shift in consumer attitudes has turned video games into the UK's most popular form of entertainment, say the retail analysts.

It predicts spending on games will rise by 42% to £4.64bn in 2008, with sales on music and video at £4.46bn.

In the last five years the video games market has more than doubled in value, while music sales have stagnated.

The good news for game makers in the report was balanced by grim tidings for high street retailers.

"The music and video market is not just suffering from a slowing of growth but a massive transfer of spend to online," says Malcolm Pinkerton of Verdict Research.

It is online sales of CDs and DVDs that have grown rapidly, rather than digital downloads, which still only account for around 4% of music and video sales.

In contrast, video games spending has enjoyed explosive growth, with the launch of major new titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV and FIFA 08, and the Nintendo Wii continuing to broaden the appeal of games.

But retailers warn that the Verdict report may not provide a completely accurate picture.

"There is no doubt that the games sector is having a fantastic year," says Steve Redmond of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), "but these figures overstate that by including games hardware."

The ERA's most recent figures for 2007 show sales of games software at £1.7bn, compared to £1.4bn in music sales and £2.2bn for video revenues.

"Our prediction is that games will overtake video by the end of this year," says Mr Redmond, "but not music and video combined."

High street music retailers are diversifying as sales of CDs continue to fall.

Malcolm Pinkerton of Verdict says firms such as HMV and Zavvi are changing store layouts: "They're cutting back on space in music and re-allocating it to more lucrative areas such as MP3 players, books, clothing and video games."

I liked videogames when they were underground. Now that they've gone mainstream I think I might go play football or something instead.

So there's always alternative interpretations of market research data. There's a suggestion that the figures are skewed because it also includes hardware sales. But then, that all contributes to the gains to be made from the pasttime. I guess with music and film, people tend to stick with the same player for a long time - a decent CD player should last ten years easily. Where as, with videogames there's a constant upgrade cycle, usually about four years max for consoles and often much shorter turnaround for PC upgrades.

So the net result is that UK consumers are spending more on playing computer games than on listening to music or watching movies. Doesn't necessarily mean we play games more than we do anything else (I'm willing to bet that watching TV is probably the real No1 past-time in the UK) but from a business perspective this is presumably a significant turn of events?

Szechuanosaurus on

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    APZonerunnerAPZonerunner Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    We are the elite, the chosen etc etc.

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    MonkeydryeMonkeydrye Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I don't mind games being mainstream. But my worry is that when the mainstream get's involved, industries begin to churn our more and more mediocre crap. Take the Wii. Casual folks jumped on it, and most of the games are pretty blah.

    much like with music and movies, I worry that we will begin to see less and less deep game play and more and more fluff.

    Monkeydrye on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2008
    The majority of computer games have been mediocre crap throughout the history of the industry. I don't notice that there's objectively more mediocre crap than there ever was.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Monkeydrye wrote: »
    I don't mind games being mainstream. But my worry is that when the mainstream get's involved, industries begin to churn our more and more mediocre crap. Take the Wii. Casual folks jumped on it, and most of the games are pretty blah.

    much like with music and movies, I worry that we will begin to see less and less deep game play and more and more fluff.

    The games aren't blah because the Wii is mainstream, the games are blah because almost no developers have figured out how to develop for it.

    The fact that the console isn't dead-and-buried is the only thing you can "blame" on its mainstream appeal.

    admanb on
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    lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Keep in mind that while revenue from games and hardware are up world wide, profits are hard to come by unless you are Nintendo.

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    UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    No, screw research, video games are dying, etc.

    UnbreakableVow on
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    PataPata Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Monkeydrye wrote: »
    I don't mind games being mainstream. But my worry is that when the mainstream get's involved, industries begin to churn our more and more mediocre crap. Take the NES. Casual folks jumped on it, and most of the games are pretty blah.

    This is nothing new.

    Pata on
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    admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Pata wrote: »
    Monkeydrye wrote: »
    I don't mind games being mainstream. But my worry is that when the mainstream get's involved, industries begin to churn our more and more mediocre crap. Take the NES. Casual folks jumped on it, and most of the games are pretty blah.

    This is nothing new.

    You misspelled "XBox."

    admanb on
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    UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Monkeydrye wrote: »
    I don't mind games being mainstream. But my worry is that when the mainstream get's involved, industries begin to churn our more and more mediocre crap. Take the Wii. Casual folks jumped on it, and most of the games are pretty blah.

    much like with music and movies, I worry that we will begin to see less and less deep game play and more and more fluff.

    This has already happened with the Wii. And just like NES, quality titles are readily in supply.

    UnbreakableVow on
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