PS2, GC Claim Thanksgiving Crown

PS2, GC Claim Thanksgiving Crown

In the same day, both Sony and Nintendo have issued press releases claiming to have outsold all other consoles during the Thanksgiving holiday sales warm-up. Although, it seems Nintendo had a better holiday week than both its main rivals, Sony have released strong online figures for the U.S. suggesting that their service is enjoying a holiday boom too.

Nintendo had already been enjoying increased sales due to the Sept. 25 price drop for GameCube to an MSRP of USD 99.99. According to the company however, Thanksgiving week saw the GC reaching the top of the sales chart. Nintendo GameCube sold more than half a million systems to consumers during the week. Among all game devices, it trailed only Nintendo's portable Game Boy Advance, which sold almost 600,000 units to U.S. buyers during the week.

Nintendo's claim is partly validated by Sony's choice to use sales figures for the whole month of November, rather than just for Thanksgiving week. In that month then, U.S. retailers sold more than one million PlayStation2 computer entertainment systems. If those figures bring a smile to Nintendo lips then the next set will sober them up since it is estimated, by Sony, that the PlayStation 2 installed base in the U.S. has now surpassed 22.5 million.

Even so Nintendo cannot be disappointed since they have seen their console rise from a lowly third place to the season's top spot in just over one month. The success has been, in part, due to the company's aggressive marketing strategy but has mainly been based on the aforementioned price cut and the release of strong franchise games such as Mario Kart : Double Dash and the Pokemon games. The full GC library of games currently stands at more than 320 titles. The Nintendo onslaught is due to continue with games like 1080: Avalanche, a shred-'em-up snowboarding title; Mario Party 5; F-Zero GX, a fast racing game; Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, a game about a plumber playing Golf; Pokemon Channel, the first-ever Pokemon game available for Nintendo GameCube; and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, an upcoming role-playing game that continues the hit franchise.

Sony of course are not the kind of company that gives rivals a lot of space and they have their own holiday season mapped out pretty well. With games such as SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, Jak II, Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, and the EyeToy only recently released, they now also offer a bundle called the Combo Pack in the U.S. which includes the PlayStation 2 console, Network Adaptor (Ethernet/modem) and a copy of the online-enabled game, ATV Offroad Fury 2, all for USD 199. These offerings led to an overall first party PlayStation 2 sales volume for November, which includes front-line software and Greatest Hits titles, of two million-units. Greatest Hits titles retail for USD 20 so bear in mind that they are a cunning means of raising your overall sales figures.

Where Sony showed some true strength however, was in the growth of the PlayStation 2 online community, which has already surpassed 1.5 million connected consoles. Sales continue to be robust for the more than 50 online-enabled titles provided by 20 first and third party publishers this holiday season.

Although these figures may seem exciting you have to remember that the videogame industry typically experiences about 50 per cent of its annual videogame sales in the fourth quarter as holiday shoppers wrap up hardware, and particularly software, to give as gifts.