Cube makes massive gains

And Nintendo banks on GBA SP to keep up the momentum

The GameCube was the UK's biggest selling console last week, beating back both Xbox and PS2 with sales of 14,000 units, with Nintendo now hoping that its GBA SP rebate deal will keep sales high.

The GameBoy Advance SP launches on Friday in Europe, and 400,000 units of the new console have been shipped throughout the territory, backed by a €30 million marketing campaign. Purchasers of the unit will receive a coupon offering €50 off a new GameCube.

Last week's massive boost in GameCube sales - an increase of 60 per cent over the preceding week - came mostly thanks to price cutting at retailers including Argos and Dixons, and the launch of key software title Metroid Prime.

Nintendo will no doubt be hoping that the success can be sustained in coming weeks with a little help from the GBA SP rebate offer, which will bring the effective price of the GameCube to under £100.

However, Argos' offer - which saw the Cube sold at £78.99 including a game and memory card - will come to an end on April 1st, and with the next really major GameCube release (Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) not due until May 3rd, it seems entirely likely that the Cube could slip off the consumer radar for another couple of months.

The price cutting of the past few weeks was an initiative that originated with retailers; it's now up to Nintendo to carry the flame forward and keep the GameCube going. It's likely that in order to achieve this goal, a strategy incorporating both a strengthened release schedule and a significant price cut will be needed from the console giant.

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