UK Hardware: PS2 triumphs again

But Xbox, Cube and GBA sales up too...

Sony comprehensively trounced the opposition in the console hardware market once again this week, with the PlayStation 2 selling at its highest level all year.

Sales of the PS2 were up 23 per cent week on week, although were marginally down on this time last year. Sony won't mind too much, however, having recently broken through the five million installed base for the UK.

With three clear weeks of sales to go before the year end, it looks likely that another 300,000 PS2 owners will join the ranks - a figure software publishers will revel in as game sales hit their highest ever levels. EA in particular, with well over 25 per cent software market share, looks poised to clean up like never before.

The PS2 may have outsold its nearest rival - the GBA - by just over two to one, but Nintendo also enjoyed a sales surge of over 20 per cent week on week to continue the format's stellar performance. Sales for the diminutive handheld are almost static, year on year, and game sales still continue to under-perform relative to its installed base.

In third place, the Xbox enjoyed a 16 per cent rise in sales week on week, up to their highest level this year, but a few thousand lower than at this point last year, disappointingly, and one can only wonder what the effect Halo 2 would have had on sales if it had made it out in time for the festive season.

Tellingly, with a lack of true Xbox killer apps emerging to persuade the punters, the PS2 outsold the Microsoft console by 3.75 to one last week, and the GameCube by over five to one, although the Cube bounced back last week to record its highest sales figures all year - some 18 times the level it was at prior to the recent price cut.

N-Gage, meanwhile, continues to disappoint, with sales actually down on last week, although it's difficult to compare like with like given the fact that Chart-Track's panel does not include mobile phone retailers.

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