GTA:SA Tops December Chart in US

GTA:SA Tops December Chart in US

Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas sits on the gaming sales throne for the end of 2004 with EAs NFSU 2 in hot pursuit. The U.S. sales figures for December however, had some bad news for the gaming industry as a whole as hardware shortages and overall poor performance resulted in a, year-on-year, decline for the industry.

Following a phenomenal October, when the industry reported a 15 per cent growth increase, hopes were high for November and December as a very strong line-up of titles was expected to have gamers rushing to retailers over the holiday period. November however, was struck by XBox and PS2 hardware shortages which led to only a 2 per cent growth during that month. Things got even worse in December even though that month saw the release of a variety of console and PC titles. The gaming industry overall displayed a 1 per cent decline during 2004 in the U.S. while the software side of the industry alone saw a 7 per cent drop compared to 2003.

The bad news however, may be due to the lack of new hardware and as 2005 promises plenty of new toys for gamers, experts are optimistic that things will pick up again this year.

As far as sales figures are concerned, Halo 2 enjoyed the loneliness of the top only during November as GTA:SA overtook it and re-claimed the top spot during December and the important holiday season. EA faced an, overall, poor year with profits down by 19 per cent (possibly a result of discounted sports titles). The company's PS2 version of Need for Speed Underground 2 however, was No.2 in December with sales of over 1 million units while GTA:SA sold over 1.5 million. NFSU 2 is already on track to outperform its very successful predecessor while EA also had the No. 3 title for December, the USD 25 Madden NFL 2005. Halo 2 was at No. 4 while CoD:Finest Hour completes the December Top 5. The only GameCube title to make the Top 10 was Nintendo's Mario Party 6 at No. 9.

It is widely expected that most companies will recover in 2005, a year expected to bring us a multitude of handhelds, the launch of the Phantom gaming service and a plethora of exciting next-generation console announcements from Microsoft and Sony.