Although it may have missed out on being the biggest selling game over the festive period, missing out to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla for the coveted Christmas Number 1 position, FIFA 21 has been confirmed as the biggest selling boxed game in the U.K for 2020 after climbing back to the top of the charts in the week after Christmas.
With the news that David Beckham has been signed up to help market the game and the fact that his card has appeared already as a player in FIFA Ultimate Team and VOLTA FOOTBALL, strong marketing has ensured that FIFA 21 has gone from strength to strength in 2020, despite sales of boxed games being well down in previous years.
FIFA Esports Popularity
It’s popularity in the UK is not just down to the game itself, but also a burgeoning following within the esports community and also within the UK esports betting community where players clamour for the latest FIFA betting tips on top events, such as the latest North American Qualifier tournament which is set to take place from January 9 to 10, 2021.
However, what was interesting to note here is the percentage of purchases that were made from retail in boxed versions of the game, was considerably down on previous years as digital delivery methods of games like FIFA 21, really took hold in 2020.
Pandemic Drives Digital Purchases
A combination of the effects of the pandemic on how people buy their games, combined with a greater number of players opting for digital download versions, means that a far greater percentage of sales of the game were digital. In terms of the numbers, just 28% of sales in the UK in 2020 were boxed sales, with the remaining 72% being made digitally.
If you then consider the PC and mobile gaming markets, that figure for boxed video games drops still further to just 9% globally.
Whether or not this trend is reversed in 2021, as vaccines are rolled out across the world and, fingers crossed, the pandemic begins to die down, thus encouraging more people to venture back into the shops to buy boxed versions of gaming software, remains to be seen.
However, with both next-gen consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S coming in digital-only versions, it does seem that the major players in the industry are viewing digital download delivery of new gaming titles such as FIFA 21 as the way forward.
Heartening news for EA in the UK
What would be especially pleasing for FIFA publishers Electronic Arts is that in addition to FIFA 21 coming top of the charts for best-selling boxed video game of 2020, its predecessor, FIFA 20 finished sixth on that list. Animal Crossing: New Horizons was second, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe third, Minecraft fourth, and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War rounding out the top five.
The latter was the best-selling video game in the United States in 2020, just ahead of Call of Duty Modern Warfare, while in Japan it was Animal Crossing: New Horizons that finished at the top of their best-selling console game of the year, ahead of Ring Fit Adventure.
However, with the availability of new consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X set to improve in 2021, FIFA 21 and other popular titles could well sell many more copies on these next-gen consoles throughout next year too.