It will likely be looked back on as the golden peak year of this console cycle - during 2008 sales of consoles, games and peripherals grew strongly in the UK. The total value of all three sectors was just over £4 billion, up a massive 23 percent year-on-year.
Of course, it makes sense if you think about the boom sales of consoles such as Wii, price cuts to Xbox 360 and Sony starting to build its marketing momentum for PlayStation 3.
Things weren’t so rosy for PSP however, which performed only just a little bit better than the fast collapsing PC games market.
A total of 4.1 million PSP games were sold in 2008, compared to 5.6 million during 2007; a decline of 27 per cent. Indeed, the value of those sales dropped slightly more, from £111 million in 2007 to £70 million in 2008; down a rather staggering 36 per cent.
It all suggests Sony has now lost the battle to encourage thirdparty publishers to bring their big licenses and franchises to PSP.
Apart from EA’s rescheduled Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Square Enix’s Star Ocean: Second Evolution and Capcom’s Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, the console’s line of ‘big’ games is currently looking remarkably bare. (Although we do have top Sony product in the shape of Patapon 2 and Resistance: Retribution to look forward to.)
The high price of the UMD format is certainly one reason for this lack of enthusiasm. Maybe it’s time to open up the PlayStation Store to developers in the manner that’s been so refreshing to see with Apple’s App Store for iPod touch and iPhone?
There's no such soul searching for Nintendo though with DS accounting for 19 per cent of total UK game sales, the third largest after Wii and Xbox 360.
A total of 19.1 million DS games were sold in 2008, up 28 per cent on 2007’s total. In terms of revenue, in 2008 the DS software market was worth £366 million, up 17 per cent compared to 2007.
This does mean that the average price of a DS game dropped 9 per cent from £21.07 to £19.16 though; something that will have publishers’ accountants double-checking their development and marketing budgets for DS games during 2009. A lower average price obviously means less income for them.