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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 16:51 GMT
Games industry still riding high
Girl playing computer game
Gaming had a record year in 2002
Sales of computer games and consoles are riding high despite gloomy news on the high street.

According to the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) UK sales of gaming software and hardware reached an all-time high in 2002.

Sales reached 2.074m, an increase of 8% on the previous year.

The market was boosted by the launch of major games such as Grand Theft Auto 3 and its follow-up Grand Theft Auto Vice City, which sold over one million copies in less than two months.

Leisure pursuit

In the UK where gaming is now established as the first choice leisure pursuit for so many people of all ages

Roger Bennett, ELSPA
Electronic Arts' Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers and Fifa 2003 also sold well over Christmas, clocking up over 300,000 copies each within seven weeks of being released.

But, according to ELSPA, the biggest growth area in 2002 was consoles, largely driven by the release of the new Xbox from Microsoft and Nintendo's GameCube consoles.

"The industry has seen its most successful year ever," commented Director General of ELSPA Roger Bennett.

Christmas gloom

"The leisure software market is clearly positioned as the fastest growing and most dynamic entertainment media sector globally," he added.

"This is particularly the case in the UK where gaming is now established as the first choice leisure pursuit for so many people of all ages."

The news is in stark contrast to sales figures from consumer electronics retailer Dixons.

It announced that sales of computer games and consoles over Christmas had been below expectations.

See also:

30 Dec 02 | Technology
29 Dec 02 | Technology
23 Dec 02 | Technology
20 Dec 02 | England
13 Dec 02 | Middle East
16 Nov 02 | Scotland
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