NPD REPORTS ANNUAL 2001 U.S. INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT SALES SHATTER INDUSTRY RECORD

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, February 7, 2002 A softening economy and the effects of September 11 did not stop the video game industry from experiencing an all-time record high last year. According to The NPD Group, Inc., leading market information provider, retail sales of U.S. video games hardware, software and accessories increased 43 percent in dollars in 2001 versus the prior year. The total U.S. video game industry grew from $6.6 billion in 2000 to $9.4 billion in 2001, breaking 1999's all-time record of $6.9 billion.

This extraordinary growth in 2001 was triggered in part by the launch of three new gaming systems: Nintendo's GameCube and Game Boy Advance and Microsoft's Xbox. According to NPDFunworldSM, total video game hardware unit sales increased by 39 percent in 2001, compared to one year earlier. Next-generation console systems such as GameCube, Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2, selling at higher price points, led to a triple-digit increase of over 120 percent in dollars for annual 2001 versus 2000.

In portables, Game Boy Advance continued to surpass its predecessors, Game Boy and Game Boy Color. In fact, Game Boy Advance dominated the portable market in 2001 with a 22 percent increase in hardware unit share, compared to the prior year.

Another strong performer was the accessory category. In 2001, video game accessories sold 26 percent more units than in 2000 and generated a dollar growth increase of 47 percent. PlayStation 2 accessories led all platforms in accessory sales in 2001, a 517 percent unit sales increase from 2000. Portable accessory units were up 10 percent overall in 2001, compared to the year before.

"Last year was a tremendous rebound from a slightly lower sales year in 2000. The impact from the next generation console systems was nothing short of record-breaking during the holidays," said Ilene Haase, director of toys and video games, NPDFunworld. "Three different gaming consoles, priced at $200 to $300 price points, sold through more than a million pieces last holiday season. Last year will be a tough year to top since higher-priced hardware systems drove the majority of the dollar growth. As for 2002 and beyond, we look forward to seeing the industry move towards connectivity via the Internet and a new level of superior quality games that can harness the power of these technologically-advanced machines," added Haase.

According to NPD, sales of the total U.S. interactive entertainment software market, which includes PC entertainment and video game software, approached $6 billion last year versus $5.4 billion in 2000. Console and portable software sales rose 8.3 percent in unit sales, compared to 2000, while PC entertainment software experienced a unit increase of 3.8 percent. The number one console title, ranked according to units sold, was Sony's PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto 3 by Rockstar Games. Grand Theft Auto 3 sold just under two million units since its release in October 2001.

The Sims by Electronic Arts was the number one PC entertainment game, it sold over 2.6 million units life-to-date, and debuted more than two years ago. The Sims franchise continues to spark software game sales with four titles appearing in the top ten, according to NPDTechworldSM. PC games were supported by the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which after only two months on the shelves became the third top-selling PC game of 2001.

"Sales in the PC game sector during 2001 were largely driven by a handful of proven franchises and correlating sequels or expansion sets," said Steve Koenig, senior software analyst, NPDTechworld. "As a result, the market for PC games managed to achieve relatively good growth in 2001, despite the gaming industry's strong focus on the console business during the last half of the year," added Koenig.

2001 Top 10 Video Game Titles, Sorted by Units

RANK

PLATFORM / TITLE

PUBLISHER

RELEASE DATE

ARP

1

PS2 Grand Theft Auto 3

Rockstar Games
(Take 2 Interactive)

OCT '01

$50.33

2

PS2 Madden NFL 2002

Electronic Arts

AUG '01

$49.62

3

GBC Pokemon Crystal

Nintendo of America

JUL '01

$29.24

4

PS2 Metal Gear Solid 2

Konami of America

NOV '01

$48.57

5

GBA Super Mario Advance

Nintendo of America

JUN '01

$29.85

6

PS2 Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

Sony

JULY '01

$49.70

7

PS2 Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3

Activision

OCT '01

$47.82

8

PSX Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2

Activision

SEPT '00

$28.83

9

GBC Pokemon Silver

Nintendo of America

OCT '00

$29.17

10

PSX Driver 2

Infogrames

NOV '00

$29.52

    Source: NPDFunworld TRSTS Video Games

2001 Top 10 PC Titles, Sorted by Units

RANK

TITLE

PUBLISHER

RELEASE DATE

ARP

1

The Sims

Electronic Arts

NOV '99

$41

2

MP Roller Coaster Tycoon

Infogrames

FEB '99

$23

3

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone

Electronic Arts

NOV '01

$28

4

Diablo 2 Expansion Set: Lord of Destruction

Vivendi Universal

JUNE '01

$34

5

The Sims: House Party Expansion Pack

Electronic Arts

FEB '01

$28

6

The Sims: Livin' Large Expansion Pack

Electronic Arts

DEC '99

$28

7

The Sims: Hot Date Expansion Pack

Electronic Arts

NOV '01

$27

8

Diablo 2

Vivendi Universal

MARCH '99

$38

9

Sim Theme Park

Electronic Arts

NOV '99

$19

10

MS Age of Empires: Age of Kings

Microsoft

AUG '99

$41

    Source: NPDTechworld

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group is the leading provider of comprehensive marketing information collected and delivered online for a wide range of vertical markets. By tracking both purchasing behavior and attitudes among the same consumers, NPD offers subscribers unique insight into what's happening in their industries and why. NPD also measures both retail product movement and e-commerce for a complete view of each market tracked.

Markets tracked by NPD include apparel, automotive products, consumer electronics, cosmetics and fragrances, food, foodservice, footwear, housewares, information technology, interactive entertainment, toys, music and more. The firm has offices and affiliations in 51 countries, covering North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

For more information on this press release, contact Dora Radwick at 516-625-6190, e-mail dora_radwick@npd.com
or
Sean P. Dolan at 516-625-2288, e-mail sean_dolan@npd.com