In recent times, video games have been selling more frequently and successfully on digital platforms than in physical formats. However, October 2023 nearly marked a shift in this trend in the UK market.
Gamesindustry.biz has reported a 24% decrease in digital game sales from October 2022, with only 1.6 million digital games sold that month. Conversely, physical game sales increased by 8%, amounting to approximately 1.08 million units sold throughout the month. This change is attributed to the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III in November, as opposed to Modern Warfare II's October release last year.
Specifically, while EA Sports FC 24 was the top-selling physical and digital game of the month, it fell short by 16% compared to FIFA 23's unit sales. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 ranked second for the month and topped new game sales for the month, outperforming God of War: Ragnarök by a modest 2%, Spider-Man: Miles Morales by a whopping 94%, but falling behind Spider-Man by a mere 9%.
While Super Mario Bros. Wonder bagged third place in physical game sales, Nintendo has not disclosed its digital performance for October. However, given its record-breaking physical sales, it is expected to be Nintendo's most successful Mario launch digitally as well. This meant that Assassin's Creed Mirage secured third place in digital charts (and fourth in physical charts).
When considering console sales overall during this period, there was a general decline of 10% month-over-month. PS5 saw a slight drop of 4%, whereas the Xbox Series experienced a substantial decrease of 33%. On the other hand, Nintendo Switch witnessed an increase of up to 15%. Accessory sale figures also decreased by approximately 15% from October 2022, with only 584k units sold.
Therefore, despite several highly acclaimed releases making their debut during this period, the sales performance in October 2023 was less impressive than anticipated for the UK market.