back to article Brits spent £334 each year on games

The average British gamer spent £334 on their hobby last year, it has been calculated. An email survey conducted over a three-day period by games retail site ShopTo asked over 9000 people about their gaming habits. The response was that, on average, each punter picked up 16 titles during 2011, with the majority of respondents …


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  1. David Webb

    The Wii thing could be answered by the fact it's a device that's at the end of it's life so very, very few AAA games are out for it compared to PS3/360, only game on the Wii I've got in the past year is Rune Factory Oceans, nothing else appealed to me other than that JRPG which I never really got into playing.

    1. Stu

      Well...'re right about the games sucking more and more on the Wii, but in general console history, games did used to (do?) keep getting better as years went on, as more was learned about the machine capabilities by the developers. Not to mention how to squeeze more content into essentially limited storage media.

      I think this is fair to say about both XBox's, and so far about all the Playstations too. Probably a bit different on Ninty's consoles because they never strove for highest quality visuals and audio.

      Citation - Call of Duty 3 was an early PS3 title, as was Resistance FoM, Check out ye olde YT footage of them and compare against all the newer titles, what with their much improved character animations, pixel shader effects, 1080p, etc.

      1. David Webb

        Re: Well...

        I'm not saying games on the Wii are sucky, far from it, there have been some amazing games out in the past year (the JRPG whose name I forget being one of them), it's the lack of games as a whole, dev's are moving on from the Wii and possibly working on the Wii U or the PS3/360.

      2. toadwarrior

        Re: Well...

        That's not really true. The SNES was superior to the Genesis and the N64 technically was better than the PSX but had a poor media choice and the Gamecube wasn't inferior to the PS2. The PS2 just had more quality games.

  2. Jeebus

    16 games?

    Where do people find the time to play that many games, I spend a few minutes a day posting on here and it seems like loads.

    Let alone the 10-15 hours most games take, or the 50 hours it takes a COD player to finish the most simple of games.

    1. Miek

      Re: 16 games?

      "50 hours it takes a COD player to finish the most simple of games" -- Campaign mode is often achievable in less than five hours.

      1. Andy Fletcher

        Re: 16 games?

        £300? I buy COD each year, then play the crap out of it because I'm too tight arsed these days to buy more than 1 game a year. To judge by my stats, Black Ops cost me 8p an hour. Not sure how to factor in the added stress levels & hair loss though.

        I have a suspicion their respondants weren't really representative of the populace in general. I haven't done my own survey though so who am I to judge.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: 16 games?

          5 or so last year plus a couple of free ones

          That said paid over £30 for 4 of them, day of release for a couple.

          At 9p an hour for just me for the last Killzone including DLC.

          There were a lot of good games last year so rationed myself, still haven't played Portal 2 yet it sits there waiting - still dealing with Glados on first game so bit embarrassed to start.

          But then I played more games than before, Platinumed both Uncharteds before the PSN downtime, completed a few SP games during it, afterwards Platted Infamous (free game), multiplayered Killzone 3, enjoyed Resistance 3 but not the MP, blasted through Rage, Platted Uncharted 3 within a week of buying it.

          Since January been concentrating on KZ as I want to hit top rank.

          You can fill a year with not many games and still have a lot of fun. My backlog is big enough and one of my sons has just bought Skyrim and says I can play that.

          As to MY game of year - too dificult for me to choose, 3 stand out for different reasons. Uncharted 3 was fantastic, Resistance 3 has a brilliant atmosphere, and Killzone 3 multiplayer is great fun and motion control done right, I laughed out loud when getting a 5 killstreak with a sniper rifle while eating a lolly (holding it in shooting hand, with finger wrapped around T)

          last year was a great gaming year, and look how much entertainment can come from one shiny disc, especially when there are more than one person to play, online coop is fun with UC3, my daughter even plays it - but gets annoyed if not Elena, both boys play KZ3 online as well. Still can't work out why a console gets more use playing films & streaming than gaming, ours is 90% 5% 5% with 90% at a low guess, BBC, ITV, 4OD players and Blu ray both around 5%.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 16 games?

      "Where do people find the time to play that many games"

      .... at this time of year its called "study leave" (the time when GCSE students are told to stay at home and "revise" rather than coming into school)

    3. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: 16 games?

      Ideal life-work balance for the average person:

      8 hours working.

      8 hours at your leisure.

      8 hours asleep.

      8 hours of leisure x 7 days (we'll assume you have important things to do on the weekends too when you're not working) = 56 hours a week. In those 56 hours, in between visiting relatives, doing the shopping, popping down the pub, mending the shed, cleaning the car, etc. and NOT counting the weekend "working day", are you honestly say you can't spend an hour in front of the telly or, in this case, games? One hour a week, that's a game a month on average with modern titles.

      That aside, I found that when I stopped watching broadcast TV, I had a lot more time in my day for doing things. All of my TV comes to maybe an hour or two a week (depending what's on - nothing at the moment with the damn football taking priority over things I normally watch - no, not soaps) and when you iPlayer that, it's not extended by ads and other junk that eat into the rest of your personal life.

      Hell, I put in a few hours each week of programming into a game I'm writing, let alone playing games myself.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Fixed it for ya

    "“We HOPE this trend will reverse when the next generation of consoles are released, beginning with the Wii U this Christmas,”

    The reality will be the same as before. The Wii-U will come with Wii-U sports, be a novelty for a month and then get thrown in the cupboard under the stairs, in the same way the Wii was.

    The fact that only 4% of Wii owners bought a game in the latest year is even more shocking that what we thought we knew, and really should have been the headline, not buried in the detail.

    1. ukgnome Silver badge

      Re: Fixed it for ya

      Oh Mr Shitpeas you are wrong

      The Wii-U will remain hooked up to the TV and used for netflix, iplayer and occasional gaming.

      A sort of entertainment device for the family. A bit like the Wii, but with better connectivity.

      1. Goldmember

        Re: Fixed it for ya

        "The Wii-U will remain hooked up to the TV and used for netflix, iplayer and occasional gaming."

        The PS3 can ALREADY do that. And has been able to for a few years. So no, the Wii-U will not simply be able to barge its way under the TV to be used as a 'family entertainment device'. They'll have to do something pretty special to stay away from the cupboard under the stairs (or under the TV stand, unplugged and gathering dust, as my Wii has for the past 18 month).

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: Fixed it for ya

          /me Inserts PC argument and get horribly flamed by people who brought two consoles then a pc instead of just a pc.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Fixed it for ya PC gaming

            You do know that we are allowed a console AND a PC?

            Yes I can play Orange Box on the PC if I want to or Uncharted on the PS3 with a big TV slobbing out on the settee!

            1. Maxson

              Re: Fixed it for ya PC gaming

              You can do that on PC too, modern graphics cards have HDMI out and few games don't support a controller!

              Still, if you like enough PS3 exclusives, then its ok to own a PS3.

              1. thefutureboy

                Re: Fixed it for ya PC gaming

                How kind of you to give people permission to own a PS3 under certain circumstances, very generous of you.

        2. toadwarrior

          Re: Fixed it for ya

          The Wii does it too and in fact the Wii had iplayer well before the 360. The only issue with netflix on the Wii (or PS3) was MS' agreement with netflix which meant the Wii / PS3 netflix originally had to be disc based which obviously people would find to be a hassle.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Fixed it for ya

        We have a Wii, no intention of a Wii U, children are older, wife can weigh herself with Wii, I can still shoot other players on PS3, last in family survey put Sackboy over Mario as favourite childrens game.

        Any money which would have gone to a Wii U can be saved towards a PS4.

    2. toadwarrior

      Re: Fixed it for ya

      If you take Nintendo's last financial report and calculate out the attach rate of the Wii, it's nearly the same as the xbox. It's like like 8.2 (wii) vs 8.6 (360). So if only 4% bought a game recently their either bought loads before or someone else is buying a pile now.

      I'm sure there are fewer people buying games now. I don't buy Wii games because the ones I'm interested in aren't coming out because of the Wii U. I am buying PS3 games but I only got my PS3 about 6 months ago. I have years of games to pick from even if Sony released no more.

      People keep claiming Nintendo is going about it wrong yet they've been the most successful so I can't really fault them for what they're doing.

  4. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Consoles: Don't get it.

    I have only ever owned one console. That was an original xbox which I bought for £30 from a mate (took advantage of his financial situation at the time... not a great mate am I?) and immediately chipped and put XBMC on. It was a media player to me, for occasional gameplay if a friend brought a game over. I never bought a single game for it.

    I don't understand why people, especially techies, would buy a console when, for the same money, you can have a similarly-performing PC, which has the advantage of being a PC and doing things a console can't. Then, as time goes by, you can upgrade them. The overall cost of keeping up with the latest games' performance requirements is much lower, the performance and visual quality is better around this time (when all the consoles are getting old and coming up for a refresh), and it will do much more.

    I can just about see the reasoning with a unique device, like the Wii, or for a non-techie who can't build their own systems. But for a techie... Why?

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Consoles: Don't get it.

      Same here.

      I own a Wii. That's mainly for my girlfriend, but she got into point-'n'-click adventure games on Steam and I can't seem to shake her off that. We use it for "dinnerparties" (or their modern equivalent of having some friends around for pizza and while they're drunk take advantage to kick their backsides on Wii Sports Bowling).

      It's there because it was cheap, the games are cheap, it's very "party-friendly", people can bring their own games / controllers because lots of people have one, and it doesn't look too bad next to the TV. It's quicker to turn on and not as fragile as a PC when it comes to people throwing Wiimotes at it instead of letting go of the virtual bowling ball.

      But, honestly, outside of parties, it doesn't get used. I think we weighed the cat once using WiiFit.

    2. Joefish

      Re: Consoles: Don't get it.

      "I don't understand why people, especially techies, would buy a console when, for the same money, you can have a similarly-performing PC"

      Erm. Because you can't.

    3. toadwarrior

      Re: Consoles: Don't get it.

      I think you're the one who doesn't get it. Consoles generally (until recently, thanks to the taint of MS on the industry) offered solid games that didn't rely loads of patches. They just worked and it was something you just sit down and do and do it with friends.

      Most people don't want to hack their console or PC even. They just want to play games. They want to play with their friends in the living room which yes, in theory, is possible on the PC but certainly not for most games.

      Unfortunately now, mainly due to XBL imo, there's a real push to make people play online, we have to accept patching which of course lead to developers releasing crap and there's DLC.

      I'm not surprised companies like EA have seen their stock tanking. They treat their customers like shit. But it's not just on consoles. They do it across the board.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Consoles: Don't get it.


      A console just gets on with it. You don't need constant game updates (my PS3 switches on at 3AM downloads and installs any game patches every night), you don't need DirectX or driver updates (i'm guessing that's in the firmware, which gets catered for in the same way as above).

      Can't speak for other consoles, but my PS3, it's ideal for ALL types of gaming. Quick-gratification, many games are digital now, you don't even need to stick a disk in, it's on the big screen, it's totally silent, it's trivial to switch to iPlayer, DVD or Blu-Ray or streaming at any time. Controllers are wireless.

      it's a seamless all-in-one under the telly box, there are no hardware updates required every year to keep pace.

      My trusty launch 60GB PS3 cost me £382 (RRP - 10% staff discount), and it's given me 5+ years of incredible gaming and features. That's £75 a year. It's still bang upto date with the latest standards iN AV (latest Blu-Ray, HDMI and 3D specs), and is a great media streamer.

      Considering Xbox360 owners pay £50 a year alone to play online, my £75 is looking like an incredible bargain.

    5. Brangdon

      Re: Consoles: Don't get it.

      Uniform hardware. When I buy a game for a PS3 I know it will run at with decent quality and frame-rate. I gave up on PC games because so many games wouldn't run because I didn't have the latest and greatest hardware. Or I might have to spend ages switching off features to get acceptable speed. You can spend £1000 on a PC and get something that's not capable.

      I don't use my PC for games, and nothing else I do with it requires a lot of grunt, so it doesn't need to be high-powered. I'm currently using a laptop that's 3 or 4 years old. It broke a few months ago, but I saw no point in replacing it; I fixed it by replacing the hard disk and now it will probably suffice for many years more.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: PC Grunt

        I over specced the processor and disks on mine

        For video editing, just stuck a 256MB GFX card in as it was good enough.

        Runs Half Life 2 and co well, but is under specced for lots of games.

        So if I wanted to play a modern game, new GFX, new monitor (too small), new soudn system.

    6. MartinB105

      Re: Consoles: Don't get it.

      The one word answer is "Games".

      A PC may be more powerful and flexible, but what good is that if it can't run Uncharted, Resistance, God Of War, Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, Heavy Rain, Journey, Mortal Kombat, and so many many more?

      I'd estimate that about three quarters of my PS3 collection (97 games) never made it to the PC.

      I just upgraded my PS3 hard drive yesterday to 1TB because I've managed to completely fill the 320GB drive that came with it with games (no media, I have a HTPC for that).

      Tux, because he is the other reason I don't game much on my PC. :)

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Consoles: Don't get it.

        OK, fair enough, I take all your points. Many there I didn't know, not having been an avid gamer for a while.

        I'd still take a PC over a console, but I guess if I was a heavy gamer and couldn't get the games I wanted on PC I may have a different viewpoint.

  5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Sloppy headline

    No... "Brits DO NOT spent £334 each year on games"

    Yes... "Brit GAMERS spent £334 each year on games"

    Very sloppy, bit like doing a survey of drunks under Westminster Bridge and headlining survey "Brits drink 50 pints of metal polish each year".

    </grumpy old pedant mode off>

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £300 - It's not surprising really....

    ...but the thing is to assume that's what anyone may spend on their "hobby".

    If that hobby is sitting in front of a TV with XBOS/PS3/Other game console for hours every week, they will spend it on console games.

    If its playing golf, you would easily spend that booking courses and probably double/triple that for membership of a club, likewise for fishing, skying, knitting, mosts sports.... you name it.

    As for the Wii comments/rants: Owners of the Wii are probably not the typical gamers who by PS3/XBOX (that does not mean owners of those didn't buy Wii's). They purchased it for a couple of games to entertain the family, and as such are probably far more likely to buy there games in stores at Tesco/Morrisons/... or at web sites like Amazon/ as they are much better known.

    (I will admit at this point that the site that sourced this “article” is unknown to me)

    I'm a PC gamer, but mostly buy games that are a year or two old. Mainly to get them half price, but also to be able to download all the patches in one go rather than wait 6 months before the games playable. So I spend maybe £40-60/year.

    I also like photography, cheap running costs these days with digital cameras, but I have been looking at upgrading my Nikon D40X. That's now 5 years old so if I upgrade to a D5100 that would also equate to about £60/year.

    My other hobby is the expensive one; Target Shooting, excluding the purchase of the guns (last one cost ~£1200 +scope) and doing my own re-loading (it's cheaper and I get better ammo) I still spend a good £200 a year on ammo, plus club and range fees, certificate renewals every 5 years, cleaning tools/agents....

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: £300 - It's not surprising really....

      I've gotta agree. My main hobbies are motorcycling and home brewing, and I must spend well over £300 a year.

      For the bike, there's about £150 insurance, £50 tax, £30 MOT and £30 service parts, so £260 before you even take into account the fuel to actually ride the thing. As for home brewing, you have to offset against what I would spend on shop-bought beer for the cost of brewing a batch, but in equipment I must buy £100 worth a year, continually improving my setup plus replacing broken/worn out parts.

      So yes, I can see gamers spending that kind of dough on games.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Too many hobbies

        Well try having lots of hobbies.

        Video photography - new camera was over £600 for HDV, new software to edit @ £100, new burner to burn discs @ £100

        Model railways - total money pit at £50 to £150 a loco, but even coaches are now over £20

        Gaming is quite cheap at £37 a game

        I could class my car as a hobby!

  7. armyknife

    Titles Are For Toffs

    Self-selecting 'sample' ?

  8. toadwarrior

    I'm not sure why people keep trying to push this idea that mobile gaming is the future. The games that control well are shallow and hardly worth paying for and anything that resembles a traditional game sucks on a phone. Microsoft, Sony, etc won't have a problem competing so long as they keeping knocking out sequels and increasingly draining more people with DLC while releasing poor quality games that need patching.

    Console gaming can only kill itself. Mobile gaming is not a threat to anyone.

  9. Toothpick


    £334 on their hobby. This reads as though money is not necessarily spent on games. Are subscription costs (eg WoW) or "in game purchases" taken into account? Just wondering

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