UK retail video game sales fall as Starlink flops in latest charts

Starlink: Battle For Atlas – not an instant hit

None of last week’s new releases have fared well in the latest UK top 40, as Lego DC Super-Villains and SoulCalibur VI struggle.

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There’s more bad news for UK game stores this week, as it’s revealed that overall boxed sales are down 6.2% on last year. Although that’s partially due to the rise of digital sales, which are not counted by Chart-Track data, the decrease is still more than expected.

That’s despite major annual franchises like Call Of Duty and Assassin’s Creed coming out earlier in the year that usual, which may mask an even steeper decline. Although the unusually high quality of game releases last year may also be a factor.

This week has been particularly disappointing for retailers as despite a large number of new releases none have made much of an impact, with the entire top five almost identical to last week.

The most successful new entry is Lego DC Super-Villains, at number six in the all-formats chart, which is already slightly lower than Lego The Incredibles from just earlier in this year.

SoulCalibur VI had an even more disappointing launch at number eight in the all-formats chart, with sales down 55% on its 2012 predecessor. Although that’s far enough ago that direct comparisons aren’t particularly useful it may signal that the franchise is no longer a top tier franchise in terms of sales. It’s certainly not of equal interest to PlayStation and Xbox owners, with 80% of sales occurring on Sony’s console.

The biggest failure of the week though is Starlink: Battle For Atlas, which depressingly is the only major new IP release for the whole pre-Christmas period. Although lower profile new IP generally does poorly at this time of the year it’s obvious Ubisoft were hoping the toys to life title would be seen as a tempting Christmas present.

It’s true that toys to life games never debut strongly and tend to sell consistently over a longer period of time than normal games (something which is true to a lesser degree for all family-friendly titles, which may also help Lego DC Super-Villains) but debuting at number 14 in the all-formats chart is not encouraging; especially as it’s one of the few titles that should sell much better at retail than digital.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering it features exclusive Star Fox content and toys, the Switch version was the best seller, accounting for a domineering 82% of all sales. Just 10% were on PlayStation 4 and 9% on Xbox One.

Finally, GameCube remaster Luigi’s Mansion for 3DS made it as high as number 23 in the all-formats chart. The individual format chart is not in yet but the long-delayed Switch version of Dark Souls Remastered is likely to have done well in it, as it’s raised the game back up to number 12 in the all-formats – ahead of Starlink.

Update: The individual format chart is now in and with it you can see just how little impact the new releases had on the top 10. The PlayStation 4 version of SoulCalibur VI is the only one to sneak in, at number 10, with the PlayStation 4 version of Lego DC Super-Villains at number 11, and the Switch version of Dark Souls Remastered at number 12. The Switch version of Starlink is the only one in the top 40, at number 16.

The only good news for UK retail is that Black Ops 4 had a better second week than expected with a drop in sales of just 39%. With most big name games generally falling 50% or more in their second week that suggests strong word of mouth and a long and successful future ahead of it.

Total physical sales are still almost half that of last year’s Call Of Duty: WWII, but being multiplayer-only a larger percentage than normal of sales are likely to be digital – with Activision already claiming that it’s their biggest digital launch ever.

Few will need reminding of this week’s most prominent new release, with Red Dead Redemption II expected to enjoy the biggest launch of the year when it comes out on Friday. There are certainly no other major new releases to compete with it at retail, and there won’t be at all until Hitman 2, Fallout 76, and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Let’s Go, Eevee! in three weeks’ time.



UK individual formats chart – 20 October

1 (1) Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PS4)
2 (2) Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 (XO)
3 (3) FIFA 19 (PS4)
4 (4) FIFA 19 (XO)
5 (8) Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4)
6 (5) Forza Horizon 4 (XO)
7 (6) Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (PS4)
8 (10)Super Mario Party (NS)
9 (9) Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (XO)
10(-) SoulCalibur VI (PS4)



UK all formats chart – 20 October

1 (1) Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PS4/XO/PC)
2 (2) FIFA 19 (PS4/XO/NS/360/PS3)
3 (3) Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (PS4/XO)
4 (6) Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4)
5 (5) Forza Horizon 4 (XO)
6 (-) Lego DC Super-Villains (PS4/XO/NS)
7 (7) Super Mario Party (NS)
8 (-) SoulCalibur VI (PS4/XO)
9 (8) Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (XO/PS4/NS)
10(9) Shadow Of The Tomb Raider (PS4/XO)

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UK retail video game sales fall as Starlink flops in latest charts

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