December bonanza for Game Cube sales
Nintendo claims victory
Nintendo came out on top in the crucial December sales period last year, according to the Japanese company, with a massive 70 per cent year on year increase in worldwide sales of the GameCube console.
The company believes that price cuts in all three major territories were a major factor in the turnaround of the console's fortunes, while the availability of high profile software such as Mario Kart: Double Dash and Pokemon Colosseum (in Japan) also helped significantly.
By contrast, Sony's global sales of the PS2 fell by 8 per cent year on year in November and December, with poor performance in North America - where sales were down by 27 per cent - being partially offset by increased sales in Japan and Europe.
Nintendo's other console rival, Microsoft, has claimed that global Xbox sales were higher during the period due to strong sales in North America, but no figures are available as yet. However, the Xbox' sales increase is not expected to match up to Nintendo's stellar performance - with the Kyoto based company taking a relatively healthy market share of between 20 and 30 per cent in all three major territories.
It's not yet known what effect the busy seasonal sales period has had on the installed base of the various consoles, although Sony announced earlier this week that it had passed 70 million shipments of the PS2. The last tally of figures, in late 2003, suggested that the GameCube was leading the Xbox in terms of global installed base by a tiny margin of just over 100,000 units; it's likely that despite the continuing predictions of failure for the Cube, the next figures to be released will show that margin widening slightly.