Trade hails milestone success

June 10th by Johnny Minkley and Dave Roberts

Despite the panic over software pricing, the UK games sector is continuing to prosper – with market value up year-on-year and platform holders toasting milestone success.

Sony was last week celebrating worldwide PlayStation 2 shipments of a massive 90 million units – this figure achieved two years and three months faster than with the original PlayStation.

But for the UK, the announcement carried added significance. “This 90m release coincides with the UK overtaking the PSOne installed base from launch,” SCE UK boss Ray Maguire told MCV.

“We’ve got just over 7.2m PSOnes in the market and we’ve just overtaken that,” he added. “The acceleration of the installed base has been absolutely remarkable.”

Having successfully dealt with Xmas shortages, Sony is now “massively up since the beginning of the year,” Maguire added. “Last week versus the same time last year, we were 50 per cent ahead in volume.”

And he was bullish in his predictions for the rest of the calendar year, adding: “Put it like this: we want to have another party,” referring to Sony’s tradition of throwing a trade bash at each million milestone.

Meanwhile, Nintendo was boosted by the news that UK DS sales had reached 250,000 units by March 11th – slightly ahead of schedule according to UK general manager David Yarnton.

“It's really pleasing,” he said. “I'm also happy for retail, as it's tough out there and the DS has established itself as a major new revenue source.”

Revealing that the UK also has the highest software tie ratio in Europe, Yarnton added that Nintendo was also well up on last year with its handhelds: “2004 was our most successful year ever in handheld, and this year is way ahead of that. We've doubled our business compared to the first five months of last year.”

These successes were reinforced by the latest official ChartTrack figures. “After 22 weeks, the market is up 8.7 per cent in units compared to this time last year and eight per cent in value,” said director Dorian Bloch.

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