2004 European games software sales grew to their highest ever – 5.6 bln euros, according to Screen Digest. On the hardware side, well-publicised stock shortages during the peak selling season hit European sales of games console hardware in 2004. Only Microsoft’s Xbox achieved an annual growth, while PS2 and Gamecube both suffered declines. The network games market is growing at over seven times the pace of the traditional, retail based, games market. By the end of 2005, the network games market will constitute 15% of total games software sales in the Western World. Network games include mobile, iDTV, MMOG, casual games and games on demand.
In 2004 the value of the UK leisure software market was 1,217 mln pounds ? an increase of 6% from 2003. The value of the console hardware market dropped from 486 mln pounds in 2003 to 339 mln in 2004 ? a fall of 30%. 320 mln pounds was invested in the UK game development industry in 2004.