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US Charts: Need for Speed takes the top spot in December

Electronic Arts' Need for Speed Underground was the best selling game in the USA during the key month of December, with three other EA titles in the top ten and continuing strong performance for Nintendo's Mario Kart.

Electronic Arts' Need for Speed Underground was the best selling game in the USA during the key month of December, with three other EA titles in the top ten and continuing strong performance for Nintendo's Mario Kart.

The PS2 version of Need for Speed Underground made the top spot with sales of 1.12 million units during December, well ahead of the nearest challenger, EA Sports' Madden NFL 2004, which sold 784,000 units.

They were joined in the top ten by two other EA titles, namely Medal of Honor Rising Sun at number seven, and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King at number ten, a strong performance from EA which gave the publishing giant 24.4 per cent of the overall US software market during the period.

In second place in the publisher league table was Nintendo, which took 10.2 per cent of the software market, but only had one title in the top ten - with Mario Kart: Double Dash selling 730,000 units to take the number three position in the chart, down from the number one spot in November.

Nintendo also had significant success with several other titles, with Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga (GBA) selling 427,000 units, Mario Brothers 3: Super Mario Advance 4 (GBA) selling 334,000 units, Mario Party 5 (GC) selling 329,000 units and combined sales of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire coming to over 415,000 units.

All of this will have contributed to the performance of the company's hardware platforms during the month, with the GBA being the most popular piece of hardware in the USA (2.26 million units sold), while the GameCube outstripped sales of the Xbox for the third month in a row, selling 1.16 million units to Microsoft's 1.08 million.

The PlayStation 2, predictably, was the biggest selling home consoles, with sales of 1.94 million units - but those figures show month to month sales of the three consoles slowly converging, and the Cube and Xbox will probably overtake the PS2 at some point this year.

It'll take rather longer for them to challenge its installed base, however, with the PS2 figure standing at some 22.23 million units as compared with the Xbox figure of 7.75 million and the Cube figure of 6.86 million. Tellingly, the GameCube is back within a million unit range of the Xbox in the USA, and almost certainly leads it by a decent margin in terms of global sales.

Pos. Platform Title Publisher
1. PS2 Need for Speed Underground EA Games
2. PS2 Madden NFL 2004 EA Sports
3. GC Mario Kart: Double Dash Nintendo
4. PS2 Tony Hawk Underground Activision
5. PS2 Dragonball Z: Budokai 2 Atari
6. PS2 True Crime: Streets of LA Activision
7. PS2 Medal of Honor Rising Sun EA
8. PS2 Final Fantasy X-2 Square Enix
9. PS2 SOCOM II: Navy SEALs Sony
10. PS2 Lord of the Rings: Return of the King EA Games

Based on data from NPD Funworld.

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Rob Fahey avatar
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.