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Mixed ABCs as transition impact continues

With Imagine Publishing, which recently acquired Highbury’s games portfolio, declining to post any ABC figures, market leader Future was left to reveal the current picture in the market.

For the six-month period from July to December 2005, the UK’s biggest-selling games title Official PlayStation 2 Magazine, after a drop of almost 40,000 last time, stabilised on 132,069, down just 0.9 per cent.

Unofficial PlayStation titles PSW and PSM2 both fell, from 50,618 to 43,708 and from 45,276 to 40,428 respectively. But overall, Future’s PlayStation portfolio actually grew by 18,928 copies over the period thanks to the 31,859 ABC recorded by its Official PS2 specials.

Official Xbox Magazine experienced a big drop, down to 64,403 from 85,072, as did Future’s other current-generation single-format title NGC – plummeting from 16,622 down to 11,200. But Future, which will also publish the Official Nintendo title, pledged to evolve NGC to prepare for the launch of Revolution.

Future’s Xbox World 360 title posted its first ABC at 19,048, showing a substantial lead on unofficial rival 360 Gamer from Uncooked Media, which averaged 10,047 sales per issue over the period. Future did not post an ABC for its Official Xbox 360 Magazine.

In the multi-format sector, Edge magazine celebrated its highest-ever figure of 33,522, up 16.4 per cent year-on-year and fuelled by consumer interest in next-generation platforms. Gamesmaster remained largely static on 55,520.

Future’s PC games titles also held firm after a disappointing last period, both PC Gamer and PC Zone recovering slightly on 48,699 and 33,580 respectively.

“The neat thing is we hold our position on most of our businesses,” Future group publisher James Binns told MCV this afternoon. “We took quite a lot of heat last time around for some of our mags declining, but we’ve shown growth in PC, with Edge and in the Official PlayStation business.

“The drops that we’re experiencing are cyclical ones and we’re pretty clear about our plans to recover from them.”

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