2006 was a darn good year for the gaming industry, and that includes the UK. In fact, for that region, it was one of the biggest years in software sales history.
A whopping 65.1 million titles found their way from the store shelves to consumers' hands in 2006, according to the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA). It's a definite record, so of course, that translates to record revenue, which turned out to be £1.36 billion. Who said gaming was only big in the U.S. and Japan?
Sony's PS2 was the most popular attraction for the UK in 2006 (in terms of software sales), and that was followed by the Xbox 360, Xbox, Wii, and GameCube, in that order. As for handhelds, both the software for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP slipped in just behind the PS2, with the DS only slightly ahead of the PSP. This is in stark contrast to Japan, where the DS dominates in every possible respect, and combined with the hot-selling PS2 software, it's all gravy for Sony. Even PC software, which has been on a steady decline over the past five years, enjoyed an increase of 7% over 2005.
Paul Jackson, director general (who doesn't want to be a general in their work?) of the ELSPA, had this to say about the record-breaking year-
"We are thrilled to see the industry growing and software sales continuing to rise. With the new generation consoles and new handhelds there are some amazing titles out there and consumers are continuing to enjoy them. There are new and exciting games available and more and more family orientated and mentally stimulating titles to grasp and hold the interest of all ages. This is also a testament to the industry and it will continue to gain momentum."
The PS3 and Wii are going to really kick it into gear in 2007, and if these numbers are any indication, both consoles should fare extremely well in the UK.