Leading publisher Electronic Arts has taken all of the top three chart positions in the UK this week, with Need for Speed: Underground being the highest new entry at number two, but some other publishers' big titles have fared less well.
FIFA 2004 continues to be the UK's best selling game for the fifth week in a row, a major achievement at this time of year even for a franchise this big, while EA completes its hat-trick with Lord of the Rings: Return of the King at number three.
Although the Need for Speed franchise has never been a particularly big one in the UK, the launch of this latest iteration was supported with a massive television advertising campaign as well as EA's usual trade marketing push, and this has proved enough to make the game stand out from the pack of key new releases that arrived on Friday.
Only two other new releases make it into the top ten, with Activision's Tony Hawk's Underground making a debut at number five (just behind another Activision title, True Crime: Streets of LA, which drops two places to number four) while this year's Championship Manager update, Season 03/04, arrives at number six - marking the last collaboration between publisher Eidos and series creator Sports Interactive, as the two parted ways earlier this year.
Further down the chart, Rockstar North's Manhunt arrives at number 15 - a fairly low-key debut from the company that's dominated Christmas with the Grand Theft Auto titles for the past two years, although if the British tabloid newspapers do decide to launch a crusade against the incredibly violent title, as many commentators seem to expect, it'll undoubtedly help to lift its sales over the coming weeks.
Sony's Ratchet & Clank 2 also has a quiet debut, at number 25 this week, while Ubi Soft's critically acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time manages to scrape into the full-price chart at number 33 - a criminally low entry for a game which has been described as one of the best of the year so far, but still better than the fate which has met Ubi's other excellent platformer, Beyond Good & Evil - which is missing in action for a second week running, and nowhere to be seen on any of the charts despite a fairly decent presence at retail.
So what else is the UK buying as we get closer to Christmas? Fox Interactive's The Simpsons Hit & Run continues to sell well, at number seven this week, while two other cross-media franchises take up the next two places, with WWE SmackDown! Here Comes The Pain at eight, and Finding Nemo at nine.
Nintendo's Mario Kart: Double Dash drops seven places to number ten this week, although the company is unlikely to be too unhappy with the performance of the game - staying in the top ten for three weeks at this time of year represents pretty impressive sales by anyone's standards, especially given the limited nature of the GameCube installed base.
Indeed, Mario Kart is still the top-ranked GameCube title, while the top-ranked Xbox title is Need for Speed Underground - although there's no way of telling what proportion of overall sales of that came from the Xbox. The number two Xbox title, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3, is at number 24 in the full price chart, and the majority of the rest of the Xbox chart is made up of cross-platform titles - a strong contrast with Nintendo's largely exclusive line-up.
This week's missing in action list is depressing reading, as the two main titles that have failed to chart are both from established UK developers. Rare's first Xbox title, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, is nowhere to be seen even on the Xbox chart, while Sony's WRC3 (World Rally Championship 3) has also fallen off the radar entirely.