Citing data from market research firm the NPD Group, the Entertainment Software Association said the percentage of “M”-rated games sold fell to 11.9 percent in 2003 from 13.2 percent in 2002. Of the 10 best-selling console titles of the year, by units sold, only one carried an “M” rating.
That game, “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,” from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. , was publicly condemned over the weekend by Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman. It is also the subject of protests from the Haitian and Cuban communities for what they claim are derogatory remarks.
Revenue from “M”-rated games fell as well, reaching $833 million in 2003 compared to $910.8 million in 2002.
In total, console game sales reached $5.8 billion in the year, up more than 5 percent from $5.5 billion a year earlier. PC game sales fell 14 percent to $1.2 billion from $1.4 billion in 2002.
Total console hardware, software and accessory sales for the year, NPD said, fell 2.7 percent to $10 billion in 2003 from $10.3 billion in 2002. The year-over-year decline, NPD said, was driven by a 27 percent decline in console hardware revenue, offset by a 54 percent increase in sales of portable game hardware and rising game sales.
Electronic Arts Inc. dominated sales lists, with three of the top 10 console games and seven of the top 10 PC games, including the best-selling console title of 2003, “Madden NFL 2004,” and the best-selling PC game, “The Sims Superstar,” an expansion for the hit “Sims” franchise.