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Cube closes on 3m units in Europe

Christmas success propels the Cube towards sales milestone.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Nintendo Europe has followed last week's announcement of a major global boost in GameCube sales over Christmas by announcing specifics for the European market, revealing that the console's installed base is approaching 3 million.

According to figures from the platform holder, sales of the GameCube hardware increased by 88 per cent year on year over the Christmas period, well ahead of the average global increase of 70 per cent.

Software sales on the platform rose by 45 per cent during the same period, a somewhat less impressive figure given the larger installed base of the console and the strong line-up of software over the months leading up to Christmas, but a welcome increase nonetheless.

Of course, the rise in Cube sales in Europe means little without putting it alongside the performance of other consoles during the same period. Comparisons with Sony show that the Cube is, unsurprisingly, still dwarfed by the PS2 - with the "almost 3 million" installed base figure for the Cube comparing somewhat unfavourably to the PS2s "around 21 million" figure in the PAL territories.

However, the growth in Cube sales certainly outstripped its rivals over the Christmas period, with Sony announcing a 10 per cent rise in sales for the full year and thought to have experienced a slight decline in the months leading up to Christmas.

Comparisons with the Xbox over the same period are unfortunately not possible, since Microsoft has given no figures for its Christmas performance - or indeed any recent figures for its European installed base. However, Nintendo claims that the Cube was comfortably in second place over the Christmas period in Europe, outstripping sales of the Xbox by a good margin.

Nintendo's figures confirm what we have suspected for some time - that the UK market, which is comprehensively reported upon thanks to the availability of authoritative figures from Chart-Track, is utterly unrepresentative of Europe as a whole. The UK saw only a minimal boost for the Cube over Christmas, and it still lagged far behind the Xbox - a stark contrast with the figures for the rest of Europe.

Meanwhile the Game Boy Advance platform continues to go from strength to strength across Europe, with a 33 per cent rise in hardware sales during 2003 thanks to the launch of the GBA SP model, and a massive 104 per cent rise in software sales during the Christmas period. Whether this momentum can be maintained next Christmas, when Sony's PSP should be firmly lodged in the consumer consciousness, is another question entirely.

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