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Two thirds of UK game sales were digital in 2020

Bought via eShop, Steam, PSN and Xbox Live.

Two thirds of UK games sold in 2020 were digital, new figures have revealed, showing a further acceleration in the transition from retail to download sales.

GSD chart data reported by GamesIndustry.biz shows that 67 per cent of UK game sales were made through Nintendo eShop, PSN, Steam and Xbox Live last year, up from 52 per cent in 2019.

The shift to digital game sales has been ongoing for years, and 2020's results are just the latest step along that path. The fact 2020's figure is so high is unsurprising, with many bricks and mortar shops shut for much of the year while in lockdown.

Even so, UK sales of boxed games also grew in 2020 - although not as much as digital. 18.2m physical games were sold in the UK last year, a two per cent rise from 2019. Lump in consoles and accessories and the UK physical games market was worth £2.1bn in 2020.

As we reported earlier today, Nintendo is doing particularly well with physical games. In 2020, it was the biggest boxed games publisher, with more than 20 per cent of all physical games sales.

Perhaps understandably, Nintendo Switch was the best-selling games console in the UK last year - being the only one released and not superceded throughout the full 12 months. PS4 and Xbox One sales dropped off, as you'd expect, while PS5 and Xbox Series X only arrived on the scene in November.

Still, it's eye-opening just how well Switch performed. Hardware sales were up 52.2 per cent from 2019, more than enough to make up for the flagging sales of last-gen consoles. Overall, with Switch doing gangbusters and next-gen's arrival, 3.16m consoles were sold in the UK last year - up nearly 30 per cent on 2019.

Behind Switch, PS5 was the second-best selling console in the UK last year. PS4 was third.

There's loads more analysis over on GamesIndustry.biz if you fancy a read.

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Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-Chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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