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UK Retail Faces Shocking Slump

Jonathan Lester
Boxed games, slump, UK retail

UK Retail Faces Shocking Slump

We've recently entered the summer drought; the barren, hot part of the year where we have to rely on sporadic releases and Indie games to pick up the slack. However, even considering the natural decrease in games sales during this horrible period, the UK boxed games retail market has suffered an enormous slump over the last month - causing many to wonder whether the decline has more to do with aggressive online price wars and the continuing upswing of digital distribution platforms. That, and the fact that no-one has any money yet. Details below.

According to GFK Chart-Track (via MCV), UK traditional retail has suffered a huge sales slump compared to this time last year. Last month only managed to spin up £44.76 million in boxed game sales, which is 26.4% lower compared to last July. 2,327,966 games were sold at retail - a noticable decrease of 20% year-on-year. These figures are expected to be lower than usual due to the lack of new games releasing in the summer months, but it's bizarre to see sales drop so low in comparison to a year that was more keenly affected by the credit crunch.

With publishers doing their best to squeeze out pre-owned sales and digital distribution platforms on an inexorable march to glory, UK retail could be in for a seriously rough few years. With any luck, the holiday rush will boost things somewhat - or force retailers to evolve with the times. At least Zumba Fitness has been making them enough money to stay afloat... [MCV]

Add a comment5 comments
Duckman1  Aug. 5, 2011 at 15:32

Maybe they should release games in the summer. May was the last time anything decent came out LA Noire and Dirt 3.

FFS  Aug. 5, 2011 at 22:25

Well perhaps if they actually released some AAA titles at this time of year, this wouldn't happen. Instead, they're going to cram far more releases than any gamer could ever get through between September and November.

hurrakan  Aug. 6, 2011 at 10:56

GAME owned by Gameplay (who also own Gamestation) keeps forcing publishers into anti-comptetitive deals. They do NOT allow a game to be sold in their stores if it can be pre-ordered on Steam (e.g. Brink, Skyrim). There is a Steam promotion if you pre-order Skyrim - but in the UK nobody can.

GAME and Gamestation also refused to sell "Blur" in stores, for some reason, so I had to buy it on Amazon.

Actually the GAME and Gamestation stores in my town centre have an extremely limited amount of PC games - and they are NOT cheap compared to online (or Steam).

So that's why I only buy games online now - from Steam or Amazon.

I was going to go the GAMEfest convention next month but now I don't want anything to do with them.

Grimstrike  Aug. 7, 2011 at 04:43

Hurrakan its the same for me, personally i'm going to wait till the 8th to see if steam pull their finger out and get skyrim purchasable for us from the UK and if not i'll preorder it from anywhere but Game, they wont get my money at all ....ever. Amazon usually are cheaper anyway!

wut  Aug. 7, 2011 at 17:28

Game can **** off. Why would anybody want to go to a crappy Game store instead of just conveniently buy it from Steam?

I'd have thought Steam would have more influence than GAME, surely? The developers & publisher would be better off letting gamers pre-order on Steam? No?


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