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San Andreas dominates 2004 as UK market grows 6.6 per cent

Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series has produced the best selling game of the year in the UK once again, with San Andreas comfortably topping the full-year chart for 2004 as the market showed significant growth overall.

Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series has produced the best selling game of the year in the UK once again, with San Andreas comfortably topping the full-year chart for 2004 as the market showed significant growth overall.

The fastest selling game of all time in the UK, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas sold over a million units in nine days and topped the 1.75 million unit mark by the end of the year, making it the best-selling game in the series to date.

However, the big winner of the year was Electronic Arts, which despite a rocky ride in critical terms at the end of the year still managed to get nine titles into the full-year top twenty, including FIFA 2005 at number two and Christmas number one Need for Speed Underground 2 at number three.

The full-year figures, released by UK publisher trade body ELSPA, show that the software market overall in the UK grew by some 6.6 per cent, which is solid if unspectacular growth by the standards of the industry's track record, and reached sales figures of UKP 1.34 billion.

Microsoft's Xbox achieved the biggest boost of all the formats in terms of software sales, which were up 37.9 per cent over last year - with flagship title Halo 2 coming in at number nine in the full-year chart, despite falling slightly short of the half million sales mark.

The PlayStation 2, however, saw the biggest growth in cash terms, with the leading console growing its software sales by 13 per cent and driving some UKP 640 million in revenue through retailers, continuing stellar growth for the platform which remains strong in Europe despite slowing down elsewhere in the world.

The full ranking for the year looked like this....

1 GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS TAKE 2
2 FIFA 2005 ELECTRONIC ARTS
3 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND 2 ELECTRONIC ARTS
4 THE SIMPSONS: HIT & RUN VIVENDI UNIVERSAL
5 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 4 KONAMI
6 SONIC HEROES SEGA UK
7 SPIDER-MAN 2 ACTIVISION
8 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND ELECTRONIC ARTS
9 HALO 2 MICROSOFT
10 DRIV3R ATARI
11 THE INCREDIBLES THQ
12 THE SIMS 2 ELECTRONIC ARTS
13 BURNOUT 3: TAKEDOWN ELECTRONIC ARTS
14 FIFA 2004 ELECTRONIC ARTS
15 CALL OF DUTY: FINEST HOUR ACTIVISION
16 HARRY POTTER - PRISONER OF AZKABAN ELECTRONIC ARTS
17 THE SIMS: BUSTIN' OUT ELECTRONIC ARTS
18 SHREK 2 ACTIVISION
19 TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL: PANDORA UBISOFT
20 LORD OF THE RINGS - RETURN OF THE KING ELECTRONIC ARTS

Source: Chart-Track / ELSPA

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.