t's a moment many have waited for, but finally EA's love it or hate it management game The Sims was at number ten in its anniversary week in the ELSPA charts in the final week of September. While it's newsworthy it's to be expected when The Sims 2 is arriving soon, where we expect the original to either take up residence in the budget charts, or bounce back for a last hurrah before the end of the year.
As well as the old faithful Antivirus software from Norton, both standalone and in an updated Internet Security package, its an attack of the add-ons washing in for a pre-Christmas rush on the PC. The mission pack for Command and Conquer Generals, Zero Hour, stormed in at number one on its release weekend, closely followed in the runner-up spot by Breakthrough, the second mission pack for Medal Of Honor Allied Assault. Like Spearhead before it, it'll probably become essential for multiplayer in spite of a short singleplayer subset of missions on its way to bundling in a box set at some point next year. The EA add-ons knocked Jedi Knight Jedi Academy down to number three after two weeks at number one, but that's the power of Star Wars for you.
Elsewhere, the student take-up on Microsoft Office XP has dipped now everyone's back at college or university, dropping from three to eight. As with Medal Of Honour and The Sims, there's also the knowledge that a new version of Office is going to be launched imminently and the whole circus will start again.
The less predicted chart success was Homeworld 2 at number four. The hardcore following the original and Cataclysm sequel still possesses, cannot be discounted and catering to your audience remains important.
Elsewhere in the month-end charts, The All formats sector is bringing out more good news for Electronic Arts.
Freedom Fighters, developed by IO Interactive for the Xbox and PC, is at number eight and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, backed by TV advertising, higher up at 3. Other console hits with a PC Crossover remain in the form of Conflict Desert Storm 2 selling stacks on the console formats and hanging in at number 2 after Soul Calibur 2 went straight in at number one.
EA's other PC-only addons, Zero Hour for C & C Generals and Breakthrough for MoH: Allied Assault, sold well enough to be in the top ten at seven and nine respectively but then again less than a million for EA is small beer. It's still continuing reminder that the PC's a viable and equal market to the consoles, in spite of the lack of a shallow “cool” image.
After three weeks shy of a year in the chart, last year's FIFA (with this year's number as always) dropped to number 10 as well. As EA-published products number six places out of ten when you throw in Rugby 2004, I doubt they'll mind- again, FIFA 2004's guaranteed to be out before Xmas, but this year will finally face real competition from Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2003 in November. Hanging in there is Sony's Eyetoy at number 5 for a fourth month as the Christmas party market starts to look around for different games to play with their console.