Elspa, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, has recorded another record year for the software and games industry in the UK.
The main figure to come out of the announcement is that sales of entertainment and leisure software across all formats rose by 6.6 per cent over 2003's record figures totalling £1.34 billion.
The results were helped by strong sales in the last quarter of the year in the run up to Christmas including GTA: San Andreas notching up one million units in just nine days, making it the fastest selling video game of all time. By the end of the year, GTA: San Andreas topped the 1.75 million mark. A record five titles achieved double platinum status (600,000 units) in the last 10 weeks of the year, including Sony's EyeToy Play and EA's Need for Speed: Underground 2.
Xbox games showed the most significant growth, with sales on the format rising 37.9 per cent. However, it was PlayStation 2 that ruled the roost once again, increasing by 13 per cent on the previous year and taking £640 million through tills.
For a second year, Electronic Arts contributed substantially to the ongoing growth cycle, with nine titles in the top 20 alone, although Take2/Rockstar's GTA: San Andreas was the clear winner. The top 40 product which reached a total of 15 million units sales featured eight sports titles and ten titles based on film and TV franchises. It is worth noting that The Simpsons: Hit and Run (Vivendi Universal Games) improved its performance in 2004. The previous year it was placed at number nine and 2004 saw it rise to number four overall.
The list in full
1 GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS - TAKE 2
2 FIFA 2005 - ELECTRONIC ARTS
3 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND 2 - ELECTRONIC ARTS
4 THE SIMPSONS: HIT & RUN - VIVENDI UNIVERSAL GAMES
5 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 4 - KONAMI
6 SONIC HEROES - SEGA UK
7 SPIDER-MAN 2 - ACTIVISION
8 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND - ELECTRONIC ARTS
9 HALO 2 - MICROSOFT
10 DRIV3R - ATARI
11 THE INCREDIBLES - THQ
12 THE SIMS 2 - ELECTRONIC ARTS
13 BURNOUT 3: TAKEDOWN - ELECTRONIC ARTS
14 FIFA 2004 - ELECTRONIC ARTS
15 CALL OF DUTY: FINEST HOUR - ACTIVISION
16 HARRY POTTER - PRISONER OF AZKABAN - ELECTRONIC ARTS
17 THE SIMS: BUSTIN' OUT - ELECTRONIC ARTS
18 SHREK 2 - ACTIVISION
19 TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL: PANDORA - UBISOFT
20 LORD OF THE RINGS - RETURN OF THE KING - ELECTRONIC ARTS