ABC FIGURES: Official PS2 produces largest ABC increase

Future's Official PlayStation 2 magazine posted the only period-on-period rise among the top-ranked publications in the computer magazine sector.

Its year-on-year sales rose 56.8 per cent, giving the magazine an ABC of 197,348.

However, OPS2's growth is slowing, with only a 1.1 per cent increase in circulation period on period compared with a 55 per cent increase in the last ABC figures.

Its stablemate GamesMaster also posted strong figures with 23.8 per cent growth and a circulation of 65,231.

Rival titles suffered with Computec's PlayStation World the big loser, showing a reversal in fortune with year-on-year and period-on-period percentage decreases of 12.8 and 14.5 respectively.

Magazines focusing on the PC purchasing and business sector continued to slide, with Dennis' PC Pro and Computer Shopper and Future's PC Plus all losing ground.

PC Pro dropped 9.6 per cent, Computer Shopper fell 13.7 per cent and PC Plus slid 13.9 points year on year.

VNU's Computeractive also suffered with a dip of 8.4 per cent - but it kept its top spot in the sector with an ABC of 255,063, despite the significant fall from 278,570.

"The trend is reasonably predictable as computers become more like a commodity to many consumers," Colin Morrison, the managing director of Future Publishing, commented.

"The readership is becoming more concentrated on power users, and not so mass market. I would expect to see some flattening of the figures as the market consolidates."

Future's Official Xbox Magazine leads the pack of titles targeting owners of Microsoft's games console. The title posted a 50.5 per cent period-on-period rise with an ABC of 57,809.

Verdict The overall market for sales in console titles is likely to increase as Xbox rises in popularity and challenges PlayStation's market dominance. And if online gaming services - due to launch in March - catch on with consumers, they could also boost sales.

COMPUTER MAGAZINES

Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Year on

period % year %

Computeractive VNU 255,063 - -8.4

Official PlayStation 2 Future 197,348 1.1 56.8

PC Pro Dennis 121,189 -4.2 -9.6

Personal Computer VNU 110,328 - -0.1

Computer Shopper Dennis 110,035 -9.2 -13.7

PlayStation World Computec 76,293 -14.5 -12.8

PC Gamer Future 76,059 -5.4 -3.2

PC Plus Future 73,262 - -13.9

PSM 2 Future 70,049 -14.0 -6.2

Web User IPC 67,250 - -4.6

GamesMaster Future 65,231 11.2 23.8

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 2002).

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