Sales of video games in the UK reached an all-time high in 2008, despite concurrent dips in the music and DVD markets.

The UK video games market saw a 23 per cent increase in 2008 over the previous year, according to the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA).

Video game sales have more than doubled in the last five years, with total grosses reaching £4.03 billion in the last year.

This is in comparison to sales of music and DVDs, which both saw a fall last year at 10 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. This shrinkage combined with the current economic climate was enough to cause the collapse of retailers Woolworths and Zavvi.

However, Kim Bayley, director-general of the Entertainment Retailers' Association (ERA), explains that both Woolworths' and Zavvi's demise were not reflective of the entertainment industry itself, but of their own internal problems.

"Woolworths was caught between trying to compete with supermarkets on one hand and specialist retailers on the other," she said.

"Zavvi's problem was that it was caught in the Woolworths collapse, because it was supplied by a Woolworths distributor."

The growing popularity of video games brought total software sales to £1.9 billion, in comparison to 2007's £1.5 billion. This reflects an all-time high of 82.8 million discs sold in the UK.

The rise has a number of causes, not least the Nintendo Wii's success at broadening the market. Nintendo Wii software sales grew by an impressive 112 per cent, representing £481 million in revenue. Nintendo DS revenue grew to £314 million, 17 per cent higher than 2007.

Sony's PlayStation 3 saw sales rise 145 per cent, with 10.4 million software units sold, in comparison to 2007's 4.2 million. This represents a 115 per cent rise in revenue, or £334 million.

Finally, Microsoft's Xbox 360 continued to grow with revenue up by 38 per cent; £443 million in contrast to 2007's £320 million.

Though music sales fell overall, the UK singles market grew by 33 per cent in 2008 thanks to an increase in download sales.

08/01/2009 01:01:01