Need for Speed Underground won't let up

Official ELSPA Top 20 Software Chart (all prices) - week ending 24 January

1 (1)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC)
2 (4)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, PSOne, GBA)
3 (3)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC)
4 (5)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, GBA)
5 (6)
6 (2)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC)
7 (7)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, GBA)
8 (8) (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)
9 (14)
10 (9)
(PS2, Xbox, PC)
11 (11)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC)
12 (12)
13 (10)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, GBA)
14 (13)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)
15 (20) (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)
16 (RE)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)
17 (19)
(PS2, Xbox, PC)
18 (RE)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, GBA)
19 (RE) (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, GBA)
20 (15)
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC)

A quick glance at the charts is all that's needed to see the general malaise of a very static market. Need for Speed Underground remains firmly on pole position and EA continue to dominate the top five, which translates as great news for EA, all a bit dull for the neutral.

However, the most telling statistic lies in the new entries. Zip, zilch and a big fat zero. There are three re-entries (two at budget price) - with the brilliant Soul Calibur II charting highest at number 16 - which is hardly an inspiring reflection on the games industry's release schedule.

Why a steady stream of quality titles shouldn't appear throughout the year is beyond us. It is to be expected that Christmas, Easter and summer will see the majority of the big titles but then strong competition is assured as companies pit their wares against each other. Wouldn't it make sense to release at least one of your major games at a time when the opposition is sleeping? And if they all did that, we'd have a smattering of decent games on tap, rather than a three times a year glut.

At least we shouldn't have to wait too long until a major shake-up with major titles coming to the fore with the next big round of releases lining up for Easter. Until then, expect it to be a case of 'as you were'.

Leisure software charts compiled by ChartTrack (C) 2003 (UK) Ltd

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