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First punches thrown as Xmas slugfest begins

A trade survey of publishers, distributors, retailers and media has positioned Ubisoft’s King Kong as the most likely Christmas number one title, thanks to the strength of the licence, the timing of the movie (15/12) and the quality of the game.

EA is tipped to claim the next three positions in the Xmas chart, with NFS: Most Wanted, FIFA 2006 and Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire.

But if the games giant does only claim three of the top 10 titles this Xmas, it will mark a huge shift from EA’s traditional dominance during Q4. Last year it claimed six of the top 10 Xmas titles; seven in 2003. This means that the festive fruits may be spread across a greater number of firms. And they’re all hoping for that top spot.

Buena Vista Games has the game of this season’s other blockbuster movie, The Chronicles of Narnia. The film hits cinemas on December 5th, two weeks ahead of King Kong, with the game arriving even earlier on November 25th. And BVG’s country director Matt Carroll has fittingly roared back at Ubisoft.

“We’ll beat King Kong. Mr Cooper can think what he likes about it,” he told MCV. “It’s the opinion of all retailers I’ve been speaking to that Narnia will be Christmas number one. It’s a very festive game and I think the market will be more suited to the kind of seasonal impulse buy this year with no game like GTA dominating.”

THE XMAS TOP 10?

An MCV survey of 25 leading publishers, distributors, retailers and media has predicted the Christmas top-sellers…

1. King Kong - Ubisoft
2. NFS Most Wanted - EA
3. FIFA 2006 - EA
4. Harry Potter: Goblet - EA
5. GTA PSP - Rockstar/Take 2
6. Nintendogs - Nintendo
7. Buzz - SCEE
8. Football Manager - Sega
9. Narnia - BV Games
10. Shadow The Hedgehog - Sega

THE OUTSIDERS

Bully and 24 have now slipped to next year, but there are a number of other titles that could well make the Xmas charts…

Path of Neo - Atari
Pro Evolution Soccer 5 - Konami
Project Gotham Racer 3 - Microsoft
From Russia With Love - EA
Star Wars Battlefront 2 - LucasArts
Crazy Frog - Digital Jesters

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