Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Violence Is Order of the Day as PC Game Sales Soar

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Violence Is Order of the Day as PC Game Sales Soar

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA SMITH

BRITONS now spend more than three times as much on computer games - including ultra-violent examples such as Grand Theft Auto and The Getaway - as they do on going to the cinema, new figures show.

Rather than go out to eat or see a film, more and more of today's young professionals opt to stay in and wrestle with blood and guts on the small screen, judging by spending patterns.

Consumers spent more than pound sterling2 billion on computer games and consoles last year - outstripping cinema takings by nearly pound sterling1.5 billion.

The figures, released by an industry body today, show spending on gaming equipment soared by eight per cent in 2002, compared with the previous year - boosted by hit games and new consoles.

Roger Bennett, director general of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, which compiled the figures, said: "The leisure software market is now the fastest-growing and most dynamic entertainment sector, beating DVD rentals and cinema visits."

The report also reveals that the average age of computer game players has now leapt from the teenage years to the midtwenties.

Mr Bennett added: "We need to dispel the myth that this is a kids' market, because that's no longer the case. In the UK gaming is now the first choice leisure pursuit for people of all ages."

The sector was boosted through the pound sterling2 billion barrier by the launch of two new consoles last year - Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube - increasing console sales by 19 per cent.

Although sales of games were down five per cent on the previous year, there were a handful of games that were major hits.

Among them was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which became the UK's fastest-selling game ever.

Amid controversy over its graphic depictions of shootings and muggings, the game sold one million copies in just seven weeks after its release in autumn last year. …

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