Gaming magazines enjoyed a stronger six months, while general computing titles continued to struggle to capture the imagination of readers.
FXM's Official Xbox Magazine took full advantage of the Christmas market, putting in a solid performance. However, the festive season arrived late as far as game launches were concerned, which had a knock-on effect for publishing.
Dom Beavan, the international publishing director for Official Xbox, puts the magazine's ABC success down to the fact that Xbox is still less than two years old. "The second half of the year is usually better for gaming magazines as more important releases are made in the run- up to Christmas. But I believe that we are still in a period of growth," he says.
Computeractive kept its top slot, once again breaking 240,000 sales, while FXM's PlayStation World enjoyed the largest period-on-period growth, notching up a 24.7 per cent rise in sales.
Future's Official PlayStation 2 dominated the Sony sector, despite a 4.6 per cent dip in circulation year on year.
Robert Price, Future's publishing director, says: "There is some decline but the figures are still pretty impressive and were in line with what we expected."
The interest in general computing titles declined further. Computer Shopper was the only title in the PC sector to improve on the figures from the first six months of the year.
Verdict The desire to upgrade home PCs and replace technology should keep sales stable. But the console sector faces further challenges to combat the increasing maturity in the market and keep consumers excited about game launches.
TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period Year
on period on year
% change % change
Computeractive VNU 243,267 n/a -4.60
PlayStation 2 Future Publishing 188,322 0.10 -4.60
World Dennis Publishing 120,162 -1.20 8.90
PC Pro Dennis Publishing 110,326 -5.80 -9.00
Computer Shopper Dennis Publishing 103,429 3.30 -6.00
Official UK Xbox
Magazine FXM International 82,723 3.20 43.10
PlayStation World FXM International 66,525 24.70 -12.80
PC Plus Future Publishing 57,201 n/a -21.90
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations, July - December 2003.