UK games market in 2020 exceeded £4bn for the first time

FIFA 21
(Image credit: EA)

Gaming added more than £4 billion to the UK economy in 2020.

It's the first time the UK's gaming market has collectively breached revenues of £4bn, and while music and video entertainment saw all but their digital sales dip, game sales are up both physically and digitally – up 4.6 per cent and 16.3 per cent respectively. 

As reported by the Entertainment Retailers Association (opens in new tab) (thanks, MCV (opens in new tab)), overall the entertainment industry in the UK has seen physical sales shrink by 10.7 per cent, but digital is up 22.8 per cent, giving an 18.6 per cent boost overall when compared to 2019.   

"Games overtook video to become the UK’s biggest entertainment sector as long ago as 2013 when sales reached £2.3bn," the report (opens in new tab) said. "In 2020 revenues were £4.2bn, a leap of 14.5% on 2019, and the first time it has breached the £4bn threshold." 

The same report revealed that the biggest selling game was FIFA 21 with sales of 2.18 million units, while GTA 5 (opens in new tab) sold over a million copies in 2020. As we reported earlier today, even without the release of the "expanded and enhanced" (opens in new tab) next-gen versions – those aren't expected to release until the middle of 2021 – the seven-year-old game was the UK's third-biggest selling title behind FIFA 21 (opens in new tab) and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (opens in new tab), shifting 1,127,222 copies (opens in new tab).

That means it sold even more than new releases like Animal Crossing: New Horizons (opens in new tab) (810.5k), Assassin's Creed Valhalla (opens in new tab) (665.8k) and The Last of Us Part II (opens in new tab) (539.2).

The increase in sales shouldn't come as a complete surprise, of course. Last week, Valve smashed its own record for the most concurrent users on its Steam platform twice in a single day, recording 25,418,674 simultaneous users (opens in new tab) – the first time the total has exceeded 25 million – 7.2 million of which were actively playing at the time. 

There's a lot to get excited about in gaming this year. Here are the upcoming games of 2021 (opens in new tab) we really just can't wait for.

Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and GameIndustry.biz. Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.