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2008 a top year for UK games sales

More than twice as many units bought last year than in 2003

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Recession notwithstanding, the games software sales in the world's biggest markets grew 11 per cent last year. UK sales alone were up 26 per cent year on year - and more than double 2003's sales.

The figures come from NPD in the US, GfK Chart-Track here and Enterbrain in Japan. Some 409.9m game packages were sold worldwide in 2008, up from 367.7m in 2007.

US sales were up 15 per cent, but Japan's were down by 13 per cent, Enterbrain said, pointing the finger at declining demand for PS2 games rather than weakness in the current generation of consoles. This just goes to show how popular the PS2 has been.

Over here, there was a big shift to consoles, with console-oriented software sale up 38 per cent year on year. In the US, the increase amounted to 22 per cent. Sales of games for handheld devices was up six per cent here and two per cent in the States.

The best-selling title last year? Mario Kart Wii, with sales of 8.94m units in the UK, the US and Japan combined. Wii Fit took second place (8.31m units), followed by Grand Theft Auto IV (7.29m), Super Smash Bros: Brawl (6.32m) and Call Of Duty: World At War (5.89m).

Preferences change according to territory: in the US, the most popular of these was Grand Theft Auto IV, which came second in the UK market. By contrast, a paltry 256,000 copies were sold in Japan. ®

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