Terrible start for N-Gage, Cube still lagging

Official figures make for grim reading...

Nokia's fledgling N-Gage console got off to a rather inauspicious start over the weekend, with less than 500 gamers picking up the machine in ChartTrack's registered panel of over 6,000 retailers.

Admittedly, ChartTrack's official figures don't take into account mobile phone retailers, where Phones 4 U and others are offering heavily subsidised contract deals, but the statistics still make for stunning reading, when compared to any recently released gaming related system.

By comparison, for every one N-Gage sold, 30 Game Boy Advances were sold, illustrating the size of the gulf that Nokia has to bridge.

Meanwhile, recent console price cuts continued to distract consumers from the N-Gage launch, with PS2 sales holding strong at around the 50,000 mark, although Nintendo will be privately disappointed that its insanely cheap GameCube is still being outsold by a margin of ten and a half to one by Sony's machine, despite being £60 cheaper.

Despite the GameCube sales soaring by an impressive 339 per cent on last week (not 400 per cent as Nintendo estimated yesterday), its sales still lagged behind the Xbox by over 500 units - although Microsoft will be alarmed to see that its sales have been dragged to their lowest levels for some time - and the Xbox is currently being thrashed by the PS2 by over nine to one. Ouch.

And if GameCube starts to overtake Xbox, as seems likely once the TV ad campaign starts to filter through, what are the chances of Microsoft sitting on its hands on pricing for much longer? Insiders point to Microsoft offering better value bundles rather than an outright cut, but it would be foolish to rule out the possibility of a further solus price cut if Xbox gets any more of a kicking by Sony in the run up to Christmas...

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Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed

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Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.

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