Xbox pushes Cube back into third place

New bundle sparks sales surge.

GameCube's much-publicised recovery has slowed already according to the latest set of ChartTrack hardware figures which reveal that Xbox has once again overtaken Nintendo's console.

Microsoft's decision to be patient on pricing appears to have paid off, after its value-added 139.99 bundle (featuring Halo, Midtown Madness 3 and a two month Xbox Live trial) sent sales of the Xbox soaring by 81 per cent week on week, and overtaking the Cube in the process, after just one week of being outsold.

GameCube sales dropped by an alarming 20 per cent week on week, despite heavy TV advertising and a 50 advantage on the competition, but the good news for Nintendo is that since the price cut sales are still running at an average of seven times the level they were at previously.

And with F-Zero GX, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and 1080 Avalanche still to come, and the Player's Choice range providing excellent value on some genuinely triple-A titles, there's every chance the pendulum will swing back Nintendo's way - especially if retailers decide to throw in other free extras as GAME has done with its new Xbox bundle, which features another two free titles in addition to Microsoft's own.

N-Gage, meanwhile, continues to perform disastrously, with a further 17 per cent drop on last week's already pitiful figure. In the 16 days since it went on sale, only around 1,000 gamers have picked up the Nokia Game Deck via ChartTrack's 6,000 games retailers - a point which seems to rile the Finnish company more with every passing day, which somewhat hopefully insists it has sold 400,000 units into retail worldwide. But that's 400,000 sold to retail, not to customers, remember.

Although Nokia hates this comparison, the Game Boy Advance continues to sell incredibly well in the UK, selling at a ratio of over 50 to one more than N-Gage, and increasing its performance on last week by another 25 per cent.

The PS2, meanwhile, thrashes all of them, selling three per cent more than last week, which equates to more than four to one over the Xbox, more than five to one over the Cube, and nearly two and a half to one over the Game Boy Advance. For hilarity's sake, we worked out that the PS2 is outselling the N-Gage by over 125 to one in game retailers.

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