We may be in the grip of a credit crunch according to the national press, but the video games market is continuing to surge ahead, with new figures from trade body ELSPA and ChartTrack showing record growth for the market.
Software sales for the first six months of 2008 are up on almost all games formats to a staggering revenue of £738 million (31.3 million units sold) - an increase of over 42 per cent on 2007's half year figures.
The first six months show unprecedented software revenue growth thanks to Nintendo's Wii and DS systems, plus Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 accounting for £690 million of the total.
However, PC games software suffered a decline, with revenue of £48 million (3.9 million units sold), down 29 per cent on last year's £68 million.
"Games are now one of the most popular pastimes of the British - hence these remarkable figures," said Paul Jackson, director of general of ELSPA. "Our gamers are more mature than those of most countries - the average age of a player here is now 33 - and as our core gamers have grown up, so too have the revenues they bring in.
"Games are also proving themselves to be robustly recession proof. Other retailers in the High Street have been struggling this year, but those selling games are not having such a tough time.
"Britain leads the way across Europe - and one in three games sold across the EU is also developed here. The challenge now is to ensure our success is not taken for granted at home or undervalued in any way - and to ensure we have the homegrown talent to ensure we will still be leading the way five years down the road."
Revenue from console hardware over the first half of 2008 has seen overall growth in console revenue thanks to Wii and DS Lite. It is up 27 per cent on last year to £513 million. Units shifted was 3.1 million, up 41 per cent on 2007's 2.2 million.
Revenue from total games, hardware and accessories sold was £1,452 million (45.4 million) - up 42 per cent on last year's £1,022 million (34 million units).