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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
'Boom time' for video games industry
Xbox
The Xbox is Microsoft's first venture into console market
The launch of a trio of new consoles has seen the computer games industry thrive, with sales expected to reach record levels.

Global sales of video games look set to increase 12% for 2002 to $31bn (20.6bn), according to a report by research firm Informa Media Group.

Nintendo's GameCube
The GameCube was the last console to launch
The gaming industry has seen busy times as companies rolled out their new consoles.

The Sony PlayStation 2 gained the upper hand in the games wars by launching a year earlier than it rivals, and it was already a recognised and successful brand.

Price war

The race for second place is being fought between Microsoft's Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube.

Metal Gear Solid 2
Metal Gear Solid 2 has sold millions of copies
All three have engaged in aggressive price wars in order to get the consoles in to homes.

The Informa report predicts the big three manufacturers will have sold 70 million consoles by the end of 2002.

Sony accounts for 69% of the figure with the expected sale of 48 million PlayStation 2 units.

Combined console and hardware sales will account for $22bn (14.6m), or nearly 70% of the market in 2002.

Nintendo are expected to have sold 15 million GameCubes while the Xbox will trail behind on nearly 7 million.

Online gaming

The research suggests that with the assumed launch of new consoles in 2005 and 2006 the market will remain buoyant.

The global market is forecast to peak again in 2008, with revenues of $40bn (26.6bn).

But the boom in the console market appears to be having a detrimental effect on sales of PC games and hand-held gaming machines.

The market is expected to see a dip of 8.5% to $8.5bn (5.6bn).

However is there is expected to be a significant rise of 54% in the sales of mobile, online and interactive television games by 2010.


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