In the past few years the UK retail video game market has suffered a decline even steeper than the one widely reported for the U.S. market. So, when the long-term contraction turned into a modest bit of growth at the end of 2013, that was a big deal. According to the latest figures reported in the trade magazine MCV UK, that growth continued into January 2014. Retail video game software revenues were up 24 percent and unit sales grew 5 percent over last year's January sales.
The good news for Nintendo was that software sales for their handheld, the Nintendo 3DS, and their console, the Nintendo Wii U, were up significantly. Specifically, 3DS software jumped over 50,000 units for the month, an increase of 47 percent from January 2013. More impressively, the Nintendo Wii U saw its sales grow 91 percent, to 65,000 units. Because of a decline in average software prices, revenues for these two platforms grew, but at a much slower pace.
Moreover, the drop in software sales for Nintendo's other platforms -- the Wii console and older Nintendo DS handheld -- offset the gains on the newer platforms, so that the company's total software sales in the UK for January were down year-over-year, both in terms of revenue and units.
Together the two new-generation consoles, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, added nearly half a million software units to the market, driving the market to overall growth for the month. Those new platforms also commanded a premium software price, around ₤48 per game unit on average, and that was the main factor in the huge 24 percent growth in market revenue for January.
That growth does not appear to have continued into February, as preliminary retail sales figures appear to show a return to declines both in units and revenue.
The estimated figures for the breakdown of the UK market in January 2013 and 2014 are below.