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Festive Flutters Begin As Video Games Fight For Christmas Top Spot

Bets are open with family-oriented licensed titles in the lead once again

Friday 18 November 2005/...The crop of computer and video games vying for 2005's most important number one spot has been announced by ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) in collaboration with the UK's favourite bookmaker Ladbrokes.

As usual, the list of candidates includes a wide range of diverse genres catering for all age groups. However, leading the line-up with releases across six hardware formats is an upcoming interpretation of a much-loved children's classic: Buena Vista's film tie-in epic, The Chronicles Of Narnia.

The Christmas Number One has traditionally been a fervently contested position, with many surprises over its 10-year history. Last year's results were no exception. EA's Need For Speed Underground 2 stole the top spot from Rockstar's record-breaking GTA: San Andreas, securing another Christmas Number 1 for EA, who had enjoyed a similar surprise win with Medal Of Honour: Pacific Assault in 2003.

The full list of this year's contenders includes:

Title Publisher S/P PEGI Rating
The Chronicles of Narnia Buena Vista Games 3/1 7+
King Kong Ubisoft 6/1 12+
Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire Electronic Arts 6/1 7+
Prince of Persia 3 Ubisoft 6/1 16+
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One Activision 8/1 BBFC 15
Need for Speed: Most Wanted Electronic Arts 8/1 3+
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 Lucasarts 12/1 12+
GTA - Liberty City Stories Rockstar 16/1 BBFC 18
FIFA 06 Electronic Arts 20/1 3+
Pro Evolution Soccer 5 Konami 20/1 3+
The Sims 2 Electronic Arts 20/1 12+
Crazy Frog Racer Digital Jesters 25/1 3+
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2006 THQ 25/1 16+
Singstar 80s SCEE 25/1 3+
Half-Life 2 Electronic Arts 25/1 16+
Project Gotham Racing 3 Microsoft 25/1 3+
Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers THQ 25/1 TBC
Eye Toy 3 SCEE 33/1 3+
Resident Evil 4 Capcom 33/1 BBFC 15
Football Manager 2006 Sega 33/1 3+
Civilisation 4 2k Games 33/1 12+
True Crime: New York City Activision 33/1 BBFC 18
Spongebob Squarepants: Lights, Camera, Pants. THQ 50/1 3+

Roger Bennett, director general, ELSPA commented: "Christmas 2005 looks like it's set for another roaring trade in video games, with so many great titles in the running for the Christmas top spot. As ever, it's impossible to tell if the favourite will keep its lead and with such a large number of close competitors, we could have yet another surprise result this year."

David McMorrow, retail marketing manager for Ladbrokes observed that: "Games with big movie tie-ins are once again going to prove extremely popular this Christmas. We're anticipating a roaring trade on The Chronicles of Narnia (3/1), monster sales of King Kong (6/1) and magical sales of Harry Potter (6/1) - so it's bound to be tight!"

Prices correct at time of writing and subject to change.

Ladbrokes Rules apply.

Combined multi-format sales will count in the week running up to 18th December.

Ladbrokes will take the final result from ELSPA/Chart-Track.

These prices will be available shortly through Ladbrokes shops, over the phone and at www.ladbrokes.com

About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com

ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

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