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FESTIVE FLUTTERS ON VIDEO GAMES BATTLE FOR CHRISTMAS TOP SPOT

Bets are open, with titles for all the family joining the race

Monday 4th December/...

The chart toppers in the video games race are vying for 2006's

most important number one spot, the Christmas number 1. This will be announced by ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure software Publishers Association) and will be the number 1 as of the week ending 23rd Dec.

Paddy Power bookmakers have been the first to release the list of candidates and their odds, and as usual, the list of candidates includes a wide range of diverse genres catering for all age groups. There are a few family orientated titles and kids titles in the mix, including Guitar Hero 2 and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: Party Edition and Bratz: Forever Diamond and the movie tie-in game Happy Feet.

The Christmas Number One has traditionally been an enthusiastically contested position, with many surprises over its 11-year history. Although this year could be less than a surprise if PaddyPower's favourite; EA picks up it's 3rd Need for Speed Christmas number 1; Need For Speed: Carbon. 2004 saw Need For Speed: Underground 2 grab the top spot and 2005 saw Need For Speed: Most Wanted steal the number 1 spot from the favourite Buena Vista's film tie-in epic, The Chronicles Of Narnia.

So will this year see the Need For Speed series pick up it's 3rd consecutive Christmas number 1 or will one of the other great titles pip it to the post?

The full list of this year's contenders includes:

Title Publisher Odds PEGI rating

Need For Speed: Carbon EA 8/13 12+ FIFA 07 EA 4/1 3+ Gears of War Microsoft 10/1 18+ Ton Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas Ubisoft 10/1 16+ Eragon Sierra 10/1 12+ Tony Hawk Project 8 Activision 14/1 16+ Superman Returns EA 16/1 12+ WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 THQ 16/1 16+ Call of Duty 3 Activision 20/1 16+ Pro Evolution Soccer 6 Konami 20/1 3+ The Sims 2: Pets EA Games 20/ 7+ Guitar Hero 2 Activision 25/1 12+ Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Rockstar 33/1 18+ Legend of Zelda: Twlight Princess Nintendo 33/1 12+ Bratz: Forever Diamonds THQ 80/1 3+ Happy Feet Midway/Warner Bros 80/1 12+ Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: Party Edition Eidos Interactive 250/1 3+

Mike Rawlinson, Managing Director, ELSPA commented: "Christmas 2006 looks like another great year for video games and we are all excited about which of the fantastic games being released this Christmas will make it to No1. There are lots of strong competitors as always and it is impossible to tell if the favourite will make it or be pipped to the post last minute. There is a great selection of games that will appeal to various age groups and styles of gameplay to battle it out."

Sharon McHugh, Novelties Marketing Manager at PaddyPower said: "Need for Speed is the game to beat every year and this year it's no different! There are some great games out there - FIFA 07 is proving to be very popular with enhanced features that have made it go straight to No.1 in the charts. Gears of War has also been hailed as one of the best games this year, but the fact it's only available on the XBox 360 means it won't be able to compete with Need for Speed. Eragon and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas are games that will do well upon their release but I don't expect any of them to beat Need for Speed: Carbon this year. We take a lot of money on Xmas specials and this is a popular market with the customers every year. Very often a game like Superman will do well, if the movie has done well, so Eragon could be a bestseller if the Box Office does well and the kids like it enough to buy the game. Need for Speed: Carbon is on everyone's Xmas list and nothing looks like it will beat it....for now!"

Prices correct at time of writing and subject to change.

Paddy Power Rules apply.

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

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

EDITORS NOTES

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.

For further information on ELSPA, please contact:

LAURA WEST

BARRINGTON HARVEY

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email laura.west@bhpr.co.uk

Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper's Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW

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