The marketing dollars poured into the interactive games market have had their desired effect - the sector grew 54 per cent during March, with both software and hardware performing extremely well, according to an Inform market report.
But it's the PC software market that shows the most promise, with software sales up 31 per cent.
"In fact, this area of the market is looking healthier than the console market on a year-to-date basis, as levels of PC games sales in Q1 2002 were higher than the same period in 2001, while console games growth stands at 10 per cent," said Phil Burnham, chief Australian Games Analyst at Inform.
Microsoft's much-touted Xbox sold more than 15,000 units between its launch on March 14 and March 31. The console garnered a strong game-to-console sales ratio of just over 2:1.
The Xbox launch did nothing to hurt Sony PlayStation 2 sales. More than 30,000 consoles were sold during March, according to Inform, thanks largely to its optional bundling of the $30 "Entertainment Pack" at the point of sale. Seventy per cent of consoles sold during March were included in this bundle. A Metal Gear Solid 2 bundle accounted for 7 per cent of the market, while the remaining 23 per cent were sold as standalone machines.
"While most of its sales were generated at the start of March, the PS2 was still outselling Xbox by 2:1 in the last week of the month," Burnham said.
While the more high-profile consoles slugged it out for sales, the rest of the games market also performed well. Sales for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance console increased by 49 per cent on February figures on the back of ballooning software sales - up 87 per cent during March. This was largely due to Nintendo's Super Mario World Advanced 2 and Sega's Sonic Advance titles.