The UK game chart is complete nonsense

For some time now, the UK music chart has combined numbers for streaming with physical and digital sales. The UK game chart, on the other hand, only counts physical sales, and as a consequence it bears little resemblance to the reality of what games are actually the most popular.


Courtesy of MCV

This week, trade publication MCV attempted to cobble together their own chart based on a combination of digital sales and physical sales, and the difference between their chart and the ‘official’ one was astounding. For a start, Cities: Skylines was number one and Hotline Miami 2 was number four, yet neither game appeared on the official chart at all.

MCV says that attempts have been made to create a combined digital and physical chart before, but they have ultimately failed – mostly due to a reluctance from publishers to share data. But there seems little point in continuing with the current charts when they’re so wildly inaccurate. In fact, Kotaku UK have taken a stand and vowed not to report the official charts because, in their words, they’re ‘bullshit’.

I agree: and I’d rather live in a world where Hotline Miami 2 beats sales of FIFA and Call of Duty. Which makes me wonder: how have other recent indie games fared against the so-called ‘big’ gaming franchises?

Courtesy of MCV

Courtesy of MCV



Filed under Opinions

2 responses to “The UK game chart is complete nonsense

  1. I think perhaps its worthwhile taking a step back and thinking about what the point of these figures is. It’s not a consumer facing thing – although its been hijacked for that – it’s effectively market intelligence to help intermediaries get a feel for the market. The reason digital isn’t included is that there’s no buying decision in that case.

    Music on the other hand is, because of radio and advertising revenue associated with that, still a medium that is heavily reliant on sales of popular music.

    Makes you think though, about why as consumers video games players get so hung up on all that rubbish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lewispackwood

      Good point! I suppose the chart in its current form is useful for shops and marketers in that sense. But surely it would also be useful for publishers to point to healthy sales of their digital only titles? And what about sales of download codes through retail? Surely the industry must be curious about those? It seems to me the current chart is only useful for the big publishers of boxed games – but as you say, there’s not much incentive for them to change.
      I know what you mean about consumers getting hung up on charts, but I’m definitely guilty of that myself – I remember being cheered by seeing XCOM Enemy Unknown top the charts when it came out – it’s sort of like following a football team and being excited when they do well. And of course, if a game you like if popular, it’s a vindication of your good taste!


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