UK Charts: Summer Famine Takes Toll

Sales slump and fetid stagnation sets in.

Posted by Staff
For the fifth consecutive week the top three of the UK All Formats Entertainment charts has remained unchanged, with the now familiar Spider-man 2/DRIV3R/Shrek 2 axis of power keeping a firm grip on the head of the charts.

Elsewhere there's little change, though unlike last week there is at least some movement, albeit in the form of leapfrogging. The budget Need for Speed: Underground switches places with Athens 2004 in fourth and fifth places. Sega's Sonic Heroes takes another bound up from 10 to six, forcing Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow into the number eight spot. FIFA 2004 still holds tight at seven, as F1 04, after only one week on the chart, slips to nine. And right behind is Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban, also slipping down one to 10.

The only new entry this week is America's 10 Most Wanted from Play It. Landing in at 22, it seems the 10,000 GBP prize wasn't enough to drum up considerable interest. Tony Hawk's Underground is spotted at the back of the pack, re-entering the chart at number 40.

Elsewhere, Simpsons Hit and Run is resurgent, leaping from 33 to 18. With the mainstream distracted, and the Manhunt manhunt all but forgotten, it's comforting to see that the renewed interest in the game is waning. The title slips from 23 to 38.

The lack of quality releases during the summer months has had a rather unsurprising impact on the market. After five weeks of relative stability, unit sales are down across all formats by an impressive 10%. Across the formats, the biggest drop comes from the Xbox corner, crashing 18%. GameCube and PS2 take a slightly lesser hit, down 14% and 13% respectively. PC gets off lightly, dropping just 2%.

Expect big changes next week. The long awaited and heavily-pirated Doom 3 finally sees its UK release on PC. Xbox get's the acclaimed Chronicles of Riddick, while the PS2 stumps for budget releases of sequels Jak 2, Ratchet and Clank 2 and WRC 3.


Joji 10 Aug 2004 13:54
You know I hope Nintendo and Sony do more to push hand held gaming over the summer time. Summer is the dry season in gaming, but something should be done to encourage hand held gaming, if most people are not gonna be at home playing games.

Perhaps Sony might tackle this with their marketing, with Nintendo doing the same next summer. Titles like Boktai 2 should help the push.
config 10 Aug 2004 17:24
Can anyone reasonably answer this;

Why don't publisher schedule AAA titles for summer release?

I know it's traditionally a dry period (no pun, blah), but isn't this self imposed?

There's the argument that the kiddies will be out playing in the sun (or rain) during their summer break, not couped up playing videogames. That doesn't wash with me. After all, some the biggest box office takings occur during this period - they're clearly happy to be couped up in the multiplexes.

Perhaps EA were just testing the water with their summer budget re-release assault? If indications are good, perhaps the company will buck the trend and release some <cough> quality titles next summer.
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