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UK games sales to top £1bn in 99

Record growth expected in Q4

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UK sales of computer games are this year expected to exceed the £1 billion mark for the first time. Revenue for the first three quarters of 1999 was £538.6 million, which is expected to double in the run up to Christmas. Last year's fourth quarter brought in £401 million of software sales in the UK, bringing the full year total to £918.4 million. According to research by Chart-Track, on behalf of ELSPA (European Leisure Software Publishers Association), one of the biggest drivers will be the Sega Dreamcast, released last month. Michael Rawlinson, general manager at ELSPA, said the Sony PlayStation was also a major boost to sales. "PlayStation is in its final 12 months before a new platform is due to be launched. "You would usually see a decline in the year before the arrival of a new platform, but PlayStation is now achieving its best ever sales. The games market in this country has not peaked, it is still expanding." Rawlinson said eight million PlayStation consoles were sold in the first three quarters of this year, compared to 6.4 million for the same period last year. He expected the final quarter to double this number. "The market is changing for interactive software. It has moved from the specialist games community to a broader customer base, buying a wider variety of games." The worldwide games market is expected to generate over $14 billion in 1999. The US will see the greatest number of sales, followed by Japan and the UK. ®

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