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Well, here it is: an astronomical 80 per cent of video game sales in the UK were made through digital outlets like the PlayStation Store in 2018. According to the Entertainment Retailers Association, of the £3.86 billion (~$4.8 billion) that the sector generated last year, £3.09 billion (~$3.9 billion) was spent on digital items. The remaining £770 million (~$972 million) was generated by physical sales.

The digital number includes everything from microtransactions, subscriptions, and downloadable content to full-game downloads and pay-to-play products. The figure is up 12.5 per cent year-over-year, compared to retail sales being down 2.8 per cent. Overall the industry was up 9.1 per cent year-over-year.

According to the ERA, the split between digital and physical purchases very much depends on the title. FIFA 19, for example, sold 75 per cent of its copies at retail – although its digital share of 25 per cent is increasing annually. It’s perhaps worth noting that the organisation does not track hardware sales, so any revenue generated by consoles is excluded.

Still, it’s pretty clear that we’re seeing a shift to digital now. There’ll be a tipping point, as there was for music, where downloads take over – almost certainly within the next five years, we’d suspect. Specialist retailers like GAME are trying to explore areas like e-sports to remain relevant, but whether that will have any impact remains to be seen.