Christmas shootout: PS2 rules, but Xbox gains

Christmas shootout: PS2 rules, but Xbox gains

Sony’s PS2 has walked away from the crucial Christmas retail period with its lead in console and game sales intact, but younger contender, Xbox, has narrowed the lead on the back of aggressive Christmas marketing.

While Microsoft’s share of the 2nd generation console market hovered in the high 30s for November and December, figures from analysts GKF showed a late charge in January.

In weekly sales figures to January 16, Xbox’s market share peaked at 44 per cent, compared to PS2’s 51 per cent. Nintendo’s GameCube was a distant third with five per cent.

“There’s a lot of growth in the console market. It’s the only area where we’re seeing strong growth year-on-year,” GFK analyst, Phil Burnham, said.

The “Beast” Christmas bundle had generated great demand for Xbox around Christmas. The growth in Xbox’s market share in November and December had been nearly all due to the Beast pack, Burnham said.

In other heartening news for Microsoft, GFK’s sales figures for the second half of 2003 showed that Xbox’s sales had grown 10 per cent year on year; PS2 sales were one per cent less than the same period in 2002. GameCube had declined five per cent.

For more on this story, see next week's issue of ARN.

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