UK spending on video games reached record amounts in 2021

People in the UK spent a record amount on video games in 2021 – beating the previous high set during the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures show.

According to industry body Ukie and its UK Consumer Games Market Valuation, the games market grew 1.9% to £7.16 billion last year.

The growth was driven by console sales – which reached £1.13 billion – due in part to ongoing demand for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X consoles, as well as the Nintendo Switch OLED edition which was launched last year, and virtual reality headsets.

Ukie said hardware sales of virtual reality headsets rose by 42% in 2021 to reach £183 million.

In contrast to increases in hardware sales, gaming software revenue dropped slightly compared to 2020, which Ukie suggested was due to a limited number of major gaming releases in 2021 compared to 2020 when a number of high-profile titles, including Animal Crossing New Horizons, were launched.

“The UK consumer games market has consolidated effectively following significant growth during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ukie chief executive Jo Twist said.

“The UK is a nation that loves its video games and we should be proud of the positive contribution this sector makes to the economy, to our culture and to wider society.”