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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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Sony turns up the heat

PS2 sales rise, Cube falls, Xbox stays the same...

The PlayStation 2 bandwagon rolled on relentlessly last week, with Sony's nigh-on three year old machine continuing to outsell its younger, more powerful rivals by a massive margin.

The machine celebrates the third anniversary of its PAL launch in two weeks time, and it is expected that it will pass the five million sales mark in the UK at roughly the same time.

Xbox sales held firm on last week's bundle-led increase, up three per cent week-on-week, but still lagged behind the PS2 by over three to one.

A 15 per cent drop in GameCube sales left the Cube well behind the pack, with PS2 outselling it by 7.5 to one, and Xbox outselling it almost 2.5 to one.

Nintendo prefers to take a broader view of things, releasing a statement this morning that reveals its market share since the price drop has increased from just five per cent to 25 per cent across Europe, apparently placing it second place across the continent - an interesting statement given the stellar Xbox performance since the £139 bundle was released. Expect a similar Microsoft puff piece any time soon.

This week will a crucial one for Nintendo, with the £99 Mario Kart bundle arriving on shelves this Friday - and next week's sales are expected to be huge, with many users finally getting the machine just to play the hugely anticipated title.

There was better news for Nintendo in the handheld sector, with GBA sales continuing to perform strongly - up by 15 per cent week on week, pushing it well over the 20,000 mark and closer to the two million installed base for the UK alone.

Nokia, meanwhile, continued to struggle in gaming retailers, with its N-Gage console selling three per cent less than last week, and total sales across Chart-Track's UK panel since launch well below the 2,000 mark.

Industry watchers are patiently waiting for Nokia to announce its official sales figures, which will take into account the mobile phone specialists that have been offering numerous tempting deals.