But let us start with the good news first. You might have guessed that ChartTrack’s half-year figures, revealed exclusively on this week’s cover, would be up on last year. But let’s drink in their full implications for a second.
An overall year-on-year revenue rise of over 40 per cent, added to a unit sales boost of 25 per cent, is a staggering achievement. Not only have the new formats delivered results that even surprised ChartTrack’s own forecasts, but they have more importantly outstripped the decline seen with the older formats on the High Street. Ours is a growing market, and one that is in rude health – especially when compared to the music and DVD sectors.
Current industry darling Nintendo has been claiming many of the plaudits for opening up the market. But while the DS has of course recorded spectacular year-on-year growth, there’s no doubt 360 and PS3 have been a major factor in this bumper start to the year.
It’s reassuring to see that the relatively high cost of the PS3 and a next-gen rise in software prices has not put the UK consumer off opening up their wallets for a slice of interactive entertainment. And this week’s E3 will serve to blow the wider industry trumpet further.
But it’s not all overflowing tills and self-congratulation. Gordon Brown’s re-shuffled Government must stop the ‘brain drain’ from these shores and give the UK good reason to invest in our home grown talent.
It is clear the industry as a whole is booming; but grass roots development needs a little nudge in the right direction to keep the UK’s global reputation intact. Let’s hope the powers that be are reading and take notice.