The UK registered a bumper year for the sale of video games and consoles in 2002, according to industry figures published today.
UK sales of leisure software and hardware reached a record £2.07bn in 2002 - up eight per cent on 2001.
ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) reported that the market was buoyed by the launch of a clutch of major smash-hit games including "Grand Theft Auto 3", "Grand Theft Auto Vice City", "The Getaway", "Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers" and "Fifa 2003".
The sale of games consoles also helped boost the market with the biggest growth area coming from the launch of the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.
Console software sales increased by 19 per cent compared to PC software, which was down by 5 per cent on 2001 sales, said ELSPA.
In a statement Roger Bennett, head of ELSPA said: "Once again the industry has seen its most successful year ever.
"The leisure software market is clearly positioned as the fastest growing and most dynamic entertainment media sector globally.
"And this is particularly the case in the UK where gaming is now established as the first choice leisure pursuit for so many people of all ages, with the average age game player now being in their mid twenties," he said.
Yesterday, high street electrical retailer, Dixons, blamed weaker sales of games consoles (among other items) in the run-up to Christmas for lower than expected profit forecasts. ®