ABC: Computing

Sales of console titles were down in the first half, with circulations of Sony-related magazines the hardest hit.

Sony console title sales were down 17.3 per cent year on year, with the market leader, Official PlayStation 2, suffering a fall of close to 25 per cent.

Sales of Nintendo and Xbox titles were also generally down. Much of the period-on-period decline is due to the cyclical nature of gaming title sales, with fewer copies sold in the first half of the year compared with the second half, which includes the run-up to Christmas.

The lack of a major console launch from Sony or Microsoft in the past six months may also have contributed to the stagnant market.

Computeractive, the market-leading PC title, did not issue a circulation for the first half because it reports annually. Sales of PC gaming titles were down but the Dennis title Personal Computer World posted a slight increase over the first six months of the year.

Verdict: Publishers expect the launch of the Sony PSP in September to revive sales of console titles. In the long term, they are looking to the launch of major products from Microsoft and Sony to boost circulations next year.

COMPUTING TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period-on- Year-on- period year % change % change Official PlayStation 2 Future 133,242 -22.8 -24.9 Personal Computer World Dennis 93,087 0.1 -8.0 Official UK Xbox magazine Future 85,072 -3.5 1.8 Games Master Future 55,388 -10.9 0.2 PlayStation World Future 50,618 -27.8 -10.9 PC Gamer Future 48,326 -15.3 -16.3 Play Highbury 46,567 -32.5 -13.9 PSM 2 Future 45,276 -16.8 0.3 PC Format Future 41,694 6.2 n/a Nintendo Official magazine Emap 37,760 -14.6 -18.1 Source Audit Bureau of Circulations, January-June 2005.