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UK game sales to be "unprecedented" for '08

NPD, GfK, Enterbrain data shows UK sales lead global market for third quarter

The UK enjoyed software sales growth of 15 per cent for the three months ended September 30, beating marginal growth in the US of 8 per cent and a decline in Japan of 21 per cent.

Total global sales for the period evened out at 1 per cent, according to data from Top Global Markets, the alliance of NPD, GfK Chart-Track and Enterbrain, formed in August this year.

"Taking into consideration the marked differences between the three territories, the UK market in particular is gearing up for a best-ever Q4 performance overall, even under the well-documented financial climate," commented Dorian Bloch, business group director of GfK Chart-Track Limited.

"We fully expect UK consumers to drive sales for the full year to unprecedented heights, especially considering the line-up of exciting single and multi-format new franchises currently hitting the market, not to mention the evergreen portfolio of Nintendo-published Wii and DS titles which have done such a great job of expanding the market to a far more mainstream consumer."

Console software sales in the UK was up 26 per cent, but portable sales declined 1 per cent. Growth in the US was more even, with console software up 6 per cent, and portable growth up 10 per cent. Only the US market grew compared to the same period last year, by 3 per cent.

Japanese sales were down 33 per cent for console software, and 13 per cent in the handheld market.

"Japan did experience sales declines in both software categories, but it is important to keep in mind that not only is Japan a more mature market than the US and UK, but 2007 was a banner year for the Japanese software market, with the titles released in the third quarter of 2008 not being as highly anticipated as those released during the same time period in 2007," added Ricky K Tanimoto, global marketing analyst at Enterbrain.

Tanimoto observed that the market in Japan is not likely to be affected by the current global economic downturn, with the PSP 3000 and the DSi expected to drive sales in Q4.

Anita Frazier, analyst for NPD added that the US market "is on solid ground" for the next quarter, ending in December.

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