UK Chart: Burnout 3 storms in at number one

Criterion's high octane racer smashes into UK retail.

Electronic Arts' hugely anticipated arcade racer Burnout 3: Takedown has gone straight in at number one in the UK leisure software chart, with the Xbox SKU becoming the fourth fastest selling Xbox title ever in the process.

The game, which was developed in Britain by EA's recently acquired studio Criterion, tops both the PS2 and Xbox charts, but the Xbox version performs especially strongly, accounting for some 43 per cent of sales overall.

The debut of EA's racer - the first of two major racing titles from the publisher this autumn, with Need for Speed Underground 2 still to come - has pushed last week's top titles down the chart rankings.

SCi's Conflict: Vietnam drops a single place to number two after only a week at the top, but SCi are unlikely to be disappointed with its performance, as sales of the game actually rose by 47 per cent week on week.

Eidos' Shellshock: Nam '67, meanwhile, goes down a place to number three, while last week's other big debut, Codemasters' Free Radical Design developed Second Sight, rises four places to this week's number four spot.

The biggest climber of the week, however, is Sega's Headhunter: Redemption, which shoots up from number 39 last week to number 13 off the back of retailer promotions for the title.

The top-ranked GameCube title in the chart is Nintendo's own Wario Ware Inc: Mega Party Game$, which was launched at a budget price point of UKP 19.99 and climbs two places this week to reach number 18 in the ranking.

The missing in action list for the week is remarkably short, since a lot of publishers seemed to move their key titles away from Burnout 3. CDV's Codename: Panzers fails to chart in the all-formats ranking, but comes in at number seven in the PC chart (and has been performing incredibly strongly in European markets); while Atari's .hack//OUTBREAK, the third game in the continuity, also fails to make the chart.

Next week will see the launch of yet another Vietnam game, as Take 2's Vietcong: Purple Haze arrives on PS2 and Xbox, while Midway will take a shot at the psychic action genre with Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy. Ubisoft and Square Enix will be launching their take on the MMORPG genre into Europe with Final Fantasy XI... But the real contender for the number one spot, of course, is EA's The Sims 2, which arrives next Friday, and looks set to battle Burnout 3 for the top spot.

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