The weather is getting colder, and the Christmas lights are starting to sparkle across the streets. You may have begun to shop for Christmas presents for your family and friends.
As the festive season approaches, some of the year’s most anticipated games are released. One video game in particular tops the GFK UK game sales charts at Christmas, outshining the rest. Let’s look at the games that have topped the charts over the last five years.
2018: Red Dead Redemption 2
From its fantastic story to its smooth mechanics, numerous elements made Rocket Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 a hit. The prequel to the 2010 survival game Red Dead Redemption topped the charts in Christmas 2018, doubling its sales from the first version.
The story is set in 1899, in a fictional USA, following the character Arthur Morgan’s attempt to survive multiple threats. It is a single and multiplayer game where you can roam around an open world, making the environment feel more interactive and more than just missions and cutscenes.
A significant part of its success comes from the large budget and the time spent on the game development (eight years). Another reason is its ‘replayability’, as a player can experience many alternative endings. Due to these elements, the game is still popular in 2023, selling over 57 million copies.
2019: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare
Activision’s first-person shooter game is the 16th instalment of the Call of Duty series. It is also a reboot of the original Modern Warfare from 2007. You can play either the single-player campaign or multiplayer. The single-player campaign focuses on realism and is based on tactical moral decisions that are evaluated and scored. The multiplayer game has modified its tactical gameplay through map exploration and a realism mode, which removes the heads-up display (HUD).
The game had a late ripple in the UK sales chart in 2019, spiking by 73%, making it a number-one Christmas seller. Its popularity comes from the fact that it not only pleased COD players but also attracted many new people to the game. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) is still considered one of its best versions due to its realistic graphics and good quality gunplay and movement.
2020: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the 12th instalment of the action role-playing series. The Ubisoft game became number one in the charts for Christmas 2020—one of the most profitable games they ever released.
The game tells a fictional story based on the Vikings’ expansions into the British Isles. Through several primary story arcs, you play as Eivor Varinsdottir, leading other Vikings against the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Its popularity stems from its immersive RPG paired with strong visuals. Many found the story gripping and enjoyed the Viking element of the game.
2021: FIFA 22
EA releases new game versions of the football game simulator each year, focusing on advancing its realism. The game implements football tournaments like the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League. The last time FIFA was the UK’s best-selling Christmas game was in 2013 with FIFA 14. FIFA 22 became the largest physical-selling game for Christmas 2021 and was FIFA’s ninth number-one Christmas top seller. A new feature that allowed this to happen was the Volta arcade game. This is a host of mini-games you can play against your friends or other players online. FIFA‘s good annual sales are also partly due to its massive fanbase.
2022: FIFA 23
FIFA continues its streak in 2022, this time with FIFA 23. This was their tenth number-one bestselling game for Christmas, selling over 10.3 million units within its first week of release. This updated version features more realistic movements and behaviour from players and fans. It also has better graphics and much more advanced physics, making this edition more enjoyable than the previous ones.
What about 2023?
Two specific contestants for the Christmas number one bestseller are Sports FC 24 and Hogwarts Legacy.
As expected, EA Sports’ FC 24, a renamed version of the original FIFA games, has consistently been in the top ten since its release on 29th September 2023.
Hogwarts Legacy has also been doing well since its release on 10 February 2023, making it a powerful competitor. It is one of 2023’s most successful launches, selling over 15 million copies, and even rocketed back to number one in the November sales charts.
As of the most recent UK sales chart, for the week ending 2 December, FC 24 comes at the top, with Hogwarts Legacy at second.
Which game do you think will top the UK game charts this Christmas?