Consoles Beat Hollywood

Consoles Beat Hollywood

The world market for video games is growing at a faster rate than ever before, according to a new report by analysts Screen Digest on behalf of ELSPA, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. The popular games console systems, Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Xbox have sold 30 per cent more than the previous generation of gaming technology at the equivalent point in time.

Roger Bennett, director general of ELSPA, said: Here is an industry rich in creativity and entertainment value whose games are enjoyed by millions across the world and across age groups. There is certainly cause for celebration in the strength of the UK contribution to this burgeoning marketplace, with UK-developed titles such as GTA: Vice City performing phenomenally well across the globe.

Ben Keen, research director of Screen Digest, commented: The current technology cycle of the games market is playing out at an accelerated rate compared to previous market phases. In addition, more games are being sold for every console purchased. This means that hit titles will sell in ever greater numbers.

According to the new report, the world market for games and edutainment/reference
software will grow to USD 18.5bn this year, up from USD 16.9bn in 2002. Since 1995, the global leisure software market has almost tripled in value, and there are few - if any - other media markets that can show comparable growth.

Across Europe, a staggering 900m-plus games or edutainment CD-ROMs will have been sold
over the eight years since 1995. At the world level, the total number of leisure software units sold since 1995 is nearly 3 billion. On a global level, Screen Digest estimates that Sony had sold more than 40m PlayStation 2 machines by the end of 2002, giving Sony 74 per cent share of the current 128-bit console market, ahead of Nintendo's 14 per cent and Microsoft's 12 per cent.

Looking ahead, Screen Digest predicts that 2003 will be another record year for games
hardware and software sales. Globally, a staggering 32m new PlayStation 2, GameCube and
Xbox consoles will be sold, up from a little over 30m in 2002. On the back of this hardware growth, 548m pieces of leisure software will be purchased - up from 508m in 2002.

UK-specific information:

The UK continues to be the largest market in Europe and the third largest market in the
world, after the US and Japan. Total UK leisure software sales grew again in 2002 to reach UKP 1,081m- the highest value ever reached. Since 1995, more than 215m units of
leisure software have been sold in the UK. That is enough for every household in Britain to own almost nine titles each.

Leisure software spending already exceeds cinema box office takings as well as spending on the rental of videocassettes and DVDs. In fact, the interactive software market in 2002 was more than double the size of the British video rental market and 1.4 times more than cinema box office spending - which itself is enjoying record-breaking growth.