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back to article UK physical game sales hit rock bottom

The UK games market hit an all time low last week. Retailers took in just £8.4m from software sales. With the release schedule dryer than a Saharan snakepit, this time of the year is always grim, but with just 394,688 physical copies of games sold through stores last week, the industry suffered its lowest financial performance …

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Anonymous Coward

So much for HMV's business strategy of moving further into games retailing.

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I blame

The recent Steam sale tbh.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I blame

Indeed, who needs a shop when you can buy a game at 10pm when you get back from pub and be playing it by midnight... I haven't bought a physical game since romance of the three kingdoms 13

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I blame

Also in the PC sphere more people online gaming with mmorpg f2p/p2p

While in the console sphere people are waiting on the next gen consoles, knowing how unlikely it is that their new games will be functional with the new machines.

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Facepalm

Wasted drinking time..

Back by 10 and still up until past 12?

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

"These figures don't take into account the takings from from digital sales and online gaming subscriptions."

And won't once they're trotted out as another reason why we need stronger "anti-piracy measures"*.

---

*the usual way of saying "you should pay us for the service of handing your machine to us"

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394,688

That's still a lot more than I would have expected, personally. I've been a gamer since the 8-bit era but haven't bought a physical game for probably over 5 years now. I guess maybe consoles still sell more physical media? Certainly as a PC gamer I feel no inclination to venture into Game or wherever, since the PC titles are invariably on one shabby shelf in the darkest, deepest and most obscure corner of the store.

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Silver badge
Linux

Well, there is very little to buy at the moment. I'm pretty sure the figures will rise again once the winter games are released, I'm sure the November release of Black Ops 2 will bump the sales figures somewhat.

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Anonymous Coward

3 things

too expensive

easier (cheaper) to steam it

Games largely crap

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Anonymous Coward

only gonna get worse surely?

I'm sure there will be a brief increase around xmas, and a more significant one when the next gen consoles arrive. BUT, surely both will only be temporary. The future is surely tablets, and other devices running Onlive type services.

Those that rescued Game must be crazy as I cant see the market for physical new games lasting much more than 3 years.

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Re: only gonna get worse surely?

"The future is surely tablets, and other devices running Onlive type services."

I bloody well hope not. I haven't bought a physical game in ages, but moving to a subscription and rental service is one step too far for me.

Plus, who the hell has the bandwidth?

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Re: only gonna get worse surely?

Furthermore, I've tried gaming on tablets and phones, but touchscreens just don't cut it.

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Meh

Meh, feck 'em.

Well, you know what, perhaps they should be looking at publishers for at least part of the reason.

I bought a copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution for Windows on physical media a while back, on the basis that I like to have at least some of my game purchases outside of the Steam Walled Garden (though in saying that, I've never had an issue with Steam - it's just a "not all eggs in one basket" kind of thing). No sooner did I pop the disc in to run the install than the bastard thing insisted on me authenticating it against my Steam account and promptly downloaded all the install files via the network.

Had I known it was going to do that, I'd have just bought the bloody thing on Steam. For most gaming purchases physical retailers are pointless these days, and frankly have designed their own doom. When I was a teenager my local games shop was great - they had demo units set up where you could try games for almost any platform, as well as a paid-for arcade-type setup in the basement where you could rent games for cheap and play them (they had half-hourly and hourly rates that worked out). And this was on top of doing console rentals and all the other stuff you expect. I couldn't tell you when I last saw a working display model that I could actually play in a games shop - barring the Kinect Window Display I saw before Christmas I think it's probably been about 5 years or so.

It sucks for the employees, but if management are going to insist on being so crap in deciding how to deliver a service they really can't be surprised that they've been left behind.

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Anonymous Coward

No surprise

What's the point of buying the physical product unless its pre-owned and sold with at least 70% discount?

The games are all DRM'd or require a subscription anyway, so there's no benefit in having a physical product - unless you're into hopelessly out of date manuals or have a bloody awful broadband connection.

It would be interesting to see how many of the physical game sales are for consoles - the Wii for example pretty much requires physical media. Probably 95%+ is my guess.

I can't remember the last time I bought physical media for the PC, nor in fact can I remember the last time I looked in a shop selling games. Bought a few in the last year though....

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FAIL

Thats because games retailers don't bother to stock games any more

As the sort of person who will eagerly and frivolously spend my cash on anything shiny that will while away a couple of hours of my free time, I can't remember the last time I managed to successfully buy game from a brick and mortar shop.

Many a weekend I've found out about a popular recently released new title that I must play NOW (I'm also very impatient), and head into my local town (which at times has contained no less than 5 shops dedicated to either gaming or entertainment) to find that none of them have any stock of said game. Whenever I look in game shops now they seem to dedicate more shelf space to pre-ordering unreleased titles than to selling me actual games.

Combined with the hefty price hike found in shops over online prices I've not bothered to browse in games shops for some time now - Steam and Amazon generally have me covered.

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"Drier than a saharan snake-pit"

This is the key line from the article. I buy loads of console games for my Xbox 360 and PS3, but I haven't bought anything since Max Payne 3 as there has been nothing interesting out.

Come the autumn I'll be knee deep in new titles and buying one almost every week.

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Meh

Innovation Required - Apply WIthin

IMHO, the problem in this industry is that there is a true lack of innovation; too many 'me too' games and way too much fragmentation across, not just too many platforms but too many versions of essentially the same platforms as well.

This industry needs proper innovation; its the same with the movie business [same business thinking, many of thet same players in the same industries with a 'tried and tested" formulaic approach] and by innovation, I don't include the often technical means of embezzling users through excessive DRM and/or media/format changes - its subject matter and content that qualifies as innovation in a game (or a movie): exciting, creative, appealing, mentally challenging content is the key factor - That's where the true money is, not the box it relayed through.

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Re: Innovation Required - Apply WIthin

I would agree if you are looking at the big publishers. However there is a growing and healthy 'indie' market out there, which I would say means that there are more 'small companies' and one man bands producing innovative games than at any time since the era of the 64/spectrum/amstrad. Some games from this 'leftfield' have even gone on to success which the likes of EA would envy (think 'Minecraft', 'Plants vs Zombies' etc).

Of course those are almost all purely digital distribution, which is another reason for the decline of physical sales highlighted in this article.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Innovation Required - Apply WIthin

This.

Indie publishers haven't had it this good since the 8-bit days. With the cost of producing AAA games rising all the time you're not going to get anyone gambling on anything too left-field but even on consoles there are a lot of success stories of small developers innovating and hitting gold married up with gamers who are more than happy to take a £10-£15 punt on something a wee bit different.

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Bronze badge

As a console gamer, I haven't bought a game since Skyrim.

Most of what is new out there currently is fairly derivative (ok, Skyrim is more of the same as Fallout or Elder Scrolls Oblivion, but even so...), when I browse the games on offer at the supermarket / HMV / XtraVision (equivalent of Blockbuster videos), nothing really appeals.

Lets look at the top 10

LONDON 2012: THE OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME - Gave up on sports games since the "tap tap tap" 8 bit era.

LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES - Might be fun for a while but I wouldn't really rush out and buy it. If it was cheap pre-owned I might consider.

MARIO & SONIC LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES - Looks like more of the same of the Mario and Sonic Beijing game which is gathering dust.

TOM CLANCY'S GHOST RECON: FUTURE SOLDIER - Another Tom Clancy game. I have a couple that I can't even recall the full name of gathering dust.

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY - Arkham Asylum was alright, possibly more of the same. Might get a demo at some point.

CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3 - More CoD

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN - Another superhero game

THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM - Have it

FIFA 12 - Available in a years time for 99p when the sponsors have changed and some players move about (see Rugby xx, F1 20xx, Tiger Woods xx etc.)

KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: DREAM DROP DISTANCE - What exactly *is* Mickey Mouse doing in an RPG? Don't have a DS and looks like I might not be the target demographic.

Until the release of the likes of Bioshock Infinite or GTA5. And as another commenter said, the next-gen consoles are coming and are unlikely to have backwards compatibility (it could've been a great USP to buy a PS3 to play my PS2 library, instead of buying a 360 but being able to source some cheap compatible xbox '1' games).

Perhaps studios are unwilling to take risks in a recession, perhaps people don't have the readies to go out and buy a £50 new release.

I think it is a phase that even movies go through though, some good games are coming, I'm sure of it.

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Silver badge

Online physical sales included?

I can't work out if this is for bricks and mortar shops only or if it also includes online sales of physical media.

My last game purchase (D3) was an odd combination. I didn't really need a physical disc having downloaded it all for a trial version anyway. However I did end up with physical disc because it was cheaper to get Amazon to post me one than buy a code direct from Blizzard (it also arrived through the post in less time than the download took on my connection).

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Bronze badge
Stop

Nah, I still buy my physical games. Just not from a physical shop (GAME, I'm looking at you).

I like my physical product, there on disc and not on corrupting HDDs.

That said, I do buy games online (PSN), but if there's a disc equivalent (Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition excepted), I buy the disc version.

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Facepalm

Give us some games to buy and we'll buy them!

Could be something to do with the fact that nothing decent has come out in about 2 months now

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cos you can't find the damn things

I still prefer spending money on things I can hold. I tried so hard to find Diablo 3 in a shop. could I find it? could I ******. no wonder sales are suffering. Steam's all very well but some games aren't on it, and the digital copy of Diablo 3 was a lot more expensive than the retail box version. Same was true for Mass Effect 3. Go figure!

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Stop

They've Done it to Themselves

The games retailers have only themselves to blame for this one. The one community that has easiest (and cheapest) access to games on demand is the PC market; coincidentally this is the same market that every retailer has marginalised over the past 10 years.

If I go into GAME I'll see 20 panels devoting to all kinds of console gaming and 2 panels available for the PC; of which half is taken up by WoW and Sims and the rest is either pre-orders or Truck Simulator types or Hidden Object games. My local HMV doesn't even stock PC games.

It's not even limited to the UK either, while in the US earlier this year I popped into a GameStop to see if I could pick up Mass Effect 3, granted it was a smallish store on a stripmall but their PC section amounted to a 5 x 4 end aisle where every game on it was really a box with a key in it to download from the GameStop website.

I despair for the current situation; I used to visit my local GAME shop at least every payday to pick up a new shiny, but every time I went there was less and less to chose from. How can you expect to keep me as a customer if you don't have anything to sell me?

The shops have shown that they've got no clue whatsoever how to deal with competition from the likes of Steam and just jump out of the market, how are they going to cope when the next-gen consoles put games on demand at the heart of the ecosystem?

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FAIL

Re: They've Done it to Themselves

The decline of PC gaming at retail is partly due to retail's focus on used games. Unlike consoles, PC games can't be easily sold second hand due to DRM and CD keys. Retailers can only sell a PC game once, while they can recycle the same used console copies over and over again making a large profit each time.

Ironic really, because it's the lack of PC product on the shelves that led to the rise of PC digital distribution, which in turn has inspired the console platforms to create their own digital distribution services - the main threat to retail.

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PRiceing more then anything does it

50 quid for a game very steep

If they lowered teh price they would surley sell more units? (Then again)

on a side not i was in my local CEX shop and saw red alert 2 for a quid case of why not

Even odder the thing updated it self once installed lol

I know its a old game but the memories and all the mods for it a bit more fun

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Anonymous Coward

When I read the title I thought it was going to be about Connect 4 or Monopoly or something.

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Anonymous Coward

how do they expect us to buy games

when we cant afford fucking food

and of course every game has to cost more than a meal for 5.

people dont realise how far gone the economy is. we're about to approach the tipping point and no one seems to care.

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