There was no change at the top of the UK chart this week, as the 700,000-selling Need For Speed: Underground fought off the twin assault of GTA Double Pack (No.2) and the half million-selling Simpsons: Hit & Run (No.3).
In fact, there top 10 was almost exactly the same as last week, with EA once again proving its commercial superiority with no fewer than six titles figuring, including the best-selling game of 2003, FIFA 2004 (No.4), Return Of The King (No.5), The Sims: Bustin' Out (No.7), MOH: Rising Sun (No.8) and Tiger Woods (No.10).
As if to compound the fact that no new games of any significance are being released, there was only minor movement in the rest of the chart. Vivendi/Sierra's The Hobbit finally made it into the Full Price chart at No.39, and in the All Prices listings there were a few re-entries spurred on by sale activity, such as Nightfire (No.32), The Getaway (No.39), and Conflict: Desert Storm II (No.40).
Movin' on up...
In terms of significant movement, Hitman 2 continued its budget-lead revival, up eight places to No.11, and took the No.1 slot in the budget chart, while other ageing titles such as Crash Bandicoot and the Wrath Of Cortex (No.18), Medal Of Honor: Frontline (No.20), The Two Towers (No.21), Soul Calibur II (No.22), and Splinter Cell (No.24), Conflict: Desert Storm (No.31), and Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly (No.37) sold well again last week. In fact, with no fewer than 11 budget titles (£16.99 or less) in the Top 40, it would appear that lower priced titles are proving more popular than ever.
Looking at the Full Price Top 40, two GameCube exclusive titles figure, with Mario Kart: Double Dash!! hanging on at No.31 despite being the No.1 Cube title, while Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike is just behind at No.35. For once, the Xbox fares even worse, with just one exclusive representative at No.25 with Project Gotham Racing 2. The PS2, predictably, trumps the lot, headed up by EyeToy at No.13, Manhunt at No.18, Smackdown 5 at No.23, and Ratchet & Clank 2 at No.40, along with numerous console exclusives such as Prince Of Persia and PES 3.
The GameCube Top 20 showed little change on last week, with Soul Calibur II shooting back up to No.4, and Sonic Adventure 2 re-entering at No.14. A quarter of the titles came from EA, but the nation's No.1 game is currently only at No.13 in the Cube chart, curiously, despite being No.1 on the PS2 and No.3 on Xbox. Almost a third of the titles were first party titles - and mainly Player's Choice ones at that.
No.1 on Xbox, meanwhile, was the GTA Double Pack for the second week running, while the format generally enjoyed the effects of some rampant discounting of first party flops, with the circa 20,000-selling Counter-Strike suddenly shooting up to No.7, and the excruciatingly badly selling Links 2004 finally breaching the Top 20 at No.20. Elsewhere XIII continues to punch above its commercial weight at No.4, PGR2 holds firm at No.2, while the only other format exclusive, Top Spin, dropped to No.17.
Leader of the pack
Unsurprisingly, the Top 20 PS2 chart almost mirrored the overall All Formats chart, illustrating that the huge proportion of games sales - full stop - are currently weighted massively towards the Sony format. Every single PS2 Top 20 Full Price game featured in the Top 40, and ten of the Top 20 PS2 Budget titles.
The PC Full Price Top 20, however, is represented by four titles in the Full Price Top 40 All Formats: CM 03/04 (No.2 PC, No.11 All Formats), the evergreen The Sims (No.3, No.24), The Sims: Makin' Magic (No.4, No.30), and The Sims: Double Deluxe (No.6, No.38). Just when is that game ever going to stop selling? And to think there's The Sims 2 around the corner, and the inevitable budget priced reduction of the original...
The GBA chart is once again headed up by The Sims: Bustin' Out, with the incredibly popular Finding Nemo at No.2 (over 100,000 sales on the GBA alone to date in the UK) and Super Mario Advance 4 at No.3. No exclusive GBA titles figure in the All Format listings.
Although we're now in the fourth week of 2004 already, there's still little sign of any new releases troubling the charts. Most publishers appear to be adopting the curious strategy of waiting until January 30th before they release anything at all. Gathering's long awaited PS2 version of Mafia looks to be the first big title of the year, assuming it meets its latest Jan 30th target, but apart from that there's Arc: Twilight of Spirits from Sony, and not a whole lot else until February 6th when there's a huge swathe of new releases. Go bargain hunting, we say.
For a full rundown, visit the GamesIndustry.biz Charts page.
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