THE NPD GROUP REPORTS ANNUAL 2003 U.S. VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY DRIVEN BY CONSOLE SOFTWARE SALES

PORT WASHINGTON, NY, January 26, 2004 – According to leading marketing information provider, The NPD Group, retail sales of U.S. video games, which includes portable and console hardware, software and accessories, remained largely unchanged over the previous year’s record-breaking performance. The console industry saw sales figures fall 2.7 percent to $10 billion in 2003 compared to $10.3 billion in 2002.

The PC game software industry showed signs of slowing down, with revenues from retail sales down 14 percent, topping $1.2 billion in sales in 2003 versus $1.4 billion in 2002. The total console, portable and PC game industry was $11.2 billion, just 4 percent off the record $11.7 billion in 2002.

The driving force in sales was led by the console software and portable game software categories, which saw a record breaking $5.8 billion, an increase of 5.4 percent in overall sales when compared to $5.5 billion in 2002. Including PC games, total industry software sales were up 1.5 percent to $7 billion, from $6.9 billion in 2002. For 2003, console software, portable game hardware and portable game software saw unit sales increases of 14 percent, 15 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

The console hardware category saw the largest percentage reduction, with a 27 percent decline in dollar volume in 2003. However, portable hardware dollar volume was up 54 percent in 2003 to $750 million, from $490 million in 2002. Besides portable game accessories, which declined 11 percent in 2003, all other industry categories showed a markedly high increase in unit figures.

"The sales results are still quite impressive when you look at the overall industry performance during 2003," said Richard Ow, senior video games analyst, The NPD Group. "The market has seen price cuts from console manufacturers as well as declines in retail software prices. With manufacturers and software publishers dropping prices to vie for consumer dollars, $10 billion in sales for the year is far from disappointing."

According to Ow, the strong, diversified software titles introduced in the fourth quarter provided the market with the sales needed to break yet another industry record.

"Since a majority of the industry’s growth comes from software sales, and because there are plenty of highly anticipated software titles across all platforms in 2004, we are expecting to see impressive sales figures," said Ow. "However, with the continued price gouging of both hardware and software categories, the industry’s sales will be hard pressed to surpass 2003 through the remainder of the current hardware platform’s life cycles."

2003 Top10 Console Video Game Titles, Sorted By Units

RANK TITLE PLATFORM PUBLISHER RELEASE
DATE
ARP
1 MADDEN NFL 2004 PS2 ELECTRONIC ARTS AUG'03 $49
2 POKEMON RUBY GBA NINTENDO OF AMERICA MAR'03 $31
3 POKEMON SAPPHIRE GBA NINTENDO OF AMERICA MAR'03 $31
4 NEED SPEED: UNDERGROUND PS2 ELECTRONIC ARTS NOV'03 $49
5 ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER GCN NINTENDO OF AMERICA MAR'03 $47
6 GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE PS2 ROCKSTAR GAMES OCT'02 $41
7 MARIO KART: DOUBLE GCN NINTENDO OF AMERICA NOV'03 $49
8 TONY HAWK UNDERGROUND PS2 ACTIVISION OCT'03 $47
9 ENTER THE MATRIX PS2 ATARI MAY'03 $46
10 MEDAL HONOR RISING PS2 ELECTRONIC ARTS NOV'03 $49
Source: The NPD Group / NPD Funworld® / TRSTS®





2003 Top10 PC Video Game Titles, Sorted By Units

RANK TITLE PLATFORM PUBLISHER RELEASE
DATE
ARP
1 THE SIMS: SUPERSTAR EXPANSION PACK WIN ELECTRONIC ARTS MAY'03 $29
2 THE SIMS DELUXE WIN ELECTRONIC ARTS SEP'02 $39
3 COMMAND & CONQUER: GENERALS WIN ELECTRONIC ARTS FEB'03 $45
4 WARCRAFT III: FROZEN THRONE EXPANSION PACK WIN VIVENDI UNIVERSAL PUBLISHING JUN'03 $34
5 THE SIMS: MAKIN' MAGIC EXPANSION PACK WIN ELECTRONIC ARTS OCT'03 $31
6 THE SIMS: UNLEASHED EXPANSION PACK WIN ELECTRONIC ARTS SEP'02 $28
7 SIM CITY 4 WIN ELECTRONIC ARTS JAN'03 $46
8 CALL OF DUTY WIN ACTIVISION OCT'03 $45
9 MS AGE OF MYTHOLOGY WIN MICROSOFT OCT'02 $38
10 BATTLEFIELD 1942 WIN ELECTRONIC ARTS SEP'02 $45
Source: The NPD Group / NPD Funworld® / TRSTS®


About The NPD Group, Inc.
Since 1967 The NPD Group has provided reliable and comprehensive sales and marketing information for a wide range of industries. NPD provides critical knowledge on what is selling, where, to whom and why to help our clients make more successful, fact-based business decisions. Today more than 1,300 manufacturers and retailers rely on NPD to help them better understand their customers, product categories, distribution channels and competition in order to help guide their business and positively impact sales and revenues. Information from The NPD Group is available for the following major vertical sectors: apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, cellular, consumer electronics, food and beverage, foodservice, footwear, home improvement, housewares, imaging, information technology, music, software, travel, toys and video games. For more information visit www.npd.com.

About NPD Funworld®
NPD Funworld a division of The NPD Group, provides sales and marketing information for manufacturers and retailers in the toy and video game industries. NPD Funworld provides the most accurate market intelligence available, including what is selling, where, to whom and why. All of this information is delivered online in a secure, Web-based environment by easy-to-use tools that make information accessible and actionable to a wide range of users from executives to sales and marketing to research. Today a host of market-leading companies in the industry rely on NPD Funworld for the knowledge they need to drive better, more fact-based decision making.

For more information:
David M. Riley
David_Riley@npd.com
516-625-2277