Trade body ELSPA welcomes Q1 games sales but implores Government to lend greater support for one of the UK’s most successful industries

Monday 21st April/… Following the announcement that the UK video games market hit a new all-time high for its first quarter results, ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) has called on Government to significantly increase its support for one of the UK’s most successful entertainment industries. The figures, released in a report just published by analysts ChartTrack on behalf of ELSPA, which monitors the UK games industry’s retail sales by providing official statistics on its business, revealed that retailers have turned over £418.4million across all software for the period 30th December to 29th March, with 17.89million units sold. Video games and home office software were up a third in value compared to last year’s figures of £317million market value and unit sales 15.62million.

Nintendo again proved to be the biggest winner by securing 37 per cent of all unit sales for Wii and DS games with the PC and Xbox 360 notching up third and fourth place respectively. Sega’s Mario and Sonic at the Olympics sold the most units over first quarter period.

The interactive entertainment industry has already financially exceeded such well-established entertainment industries as film box office, television and music and is rapidly closing in on home DVD sales. As has been the case for several years, prospects for the UK development and publishing sector are tougher now than ever, lacking as they do the sort of tax breaks and other financial incentives afforded to their counterparts in countries such as France and Canada (and offered for film production in the UK).

Paul Jackson, Director General of ELSPA, said: “We are thrilled to see the industry continue to grow at such a rapid rate and video game sales continuing to rise. This period has seen more innovative and family-friendly titles doing well and it is clear that consumers of all ages have been lining up to buy them. But this only paints one side of the picture, however.

“The UK continues to blaze a trail in terms of creativity yet over the last few years it is becoming apparent that some talent is being lured away by more attractive prospects overseas. As it stands, the UK is already down to fourth place from third as the world’s creative centre for games. It is time the Government recognised the massive financial contribution we make to the UK economy, especially when compared to the film, TV and music industries today. We call for a level playing field in terms of incentive and support. We would like to see a pledge from the Government that encourages investment in our development studios and talent at home.”