UK Charts: Sunny side still up

No let-up in EA's dominance as the UK market has its biggest week of the year.

Electronic Arts continues its stranglehold on the top of the UK charts, with the top three still composed entirely of EA franchises in a week which saw the software market shoot past the two million unit level.

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is still at number one, marking its third week in the top spot, and it's closely followed by Need for Speed: Underground and FIFA 2004 in second and third place respectively.

Vivendi's The Simpsons: Hit & Run continues its stellar Christmas performance, and is up one place to number four this week, while Lord of the Rings: Return of the King drops down a place to number five - but may well climb again following the launch of the movie tomorrow.

The only major new entry in the charts is another EA title, with Total Club Manager 2004 making its debut at number 16 in the full-price ranking. However, there's a major boost for Atari's critically derided Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which climbs a massive 18 places to this week's number 10, presumably on the back of vigorous discounting.

Multi-platform title Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is the top selling Xbox game this week, and it's impossible to tell where it would rank based on Xbox sales alone. The highest ranked Xbox exclusive is Project Gotham Racing 2, which is number two in the Xbox chart and drops a further two places in the full price chart to this week's number 29.

The highest ranked GameCube exclusive, meanwhile, is Mario Kart: Double Dash, which actually climbs a place to this week's number 16, while Disney's Finding Nemo is on top of the Game Boy Advance charts, and climbs two places in the full price chart to this week's number eight.

Other titles still performing well include Max Payne 2, which is up seven places to number 12 on the strength of its launch on console platforms a fortnight ago, and summer hit EyeToy: Play, which is at number eleven this week and seems certain to be one of the biggest selling games of 2003.

Speaking of large sales numbers, this was the biggest week of the year to date in terms of units and value alike, with over two million software units sold and over £50 million going through the cash registers at videogame outlets. This represents a five per cent increase, year on year, in the unit figures - a pretty major achievement given the lack of a stand-out title to generate sales like last year's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

This week is pretty much the last week of the year in which anything significant is launching, and EA will be hoping to bring home a complete set of top five titles in time for Christmas with the arrival of The Sims: Bustin' Out across all formats on Friday.

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