Since the company cut the price of the Cube hardware to $99.99 just over a month ago, the console has more than quadrupled its sales, and now holds 37 per cent market share, up from 19 per cent prior to the price cut.
The figures, announced by NOA’s George Harrison at an investor conference in New York, show the Cube holding a strong second place in the US home console market, behind Sony’s PS2 but ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox as the Christmas sales season kicks off.
The company is also pleased with the performance of the GameBoy Advance; year-to-date sales of the handheld console are up 25 per cent, while sales of the GameCube are up 2 per cent – as compared with a 17.5 per cent drop in sales of the PS2, and a 3 per cent drop in sales of the Xbox.
Indeed, if you combine sales of the GBA with sales of the Cube, Nintendo has been responsible for almost exactly half of all console hardware sales in the USA this year – an impressive feat for a company many analysts seem keen to write off as an also-ran in the current generation of consoles.
“In a tough economy, we’ve found the sweet spot on pricing,” claimed Harrison, “and players are grabbing Nintendo GameCube systems off the shelves at the fastest rate since the console’s debut.” The Cube now has an $80 price advantage over its competitors, and one of its key titles – Mario Kart: Double Dash! – is out later this month, and is expected to boost sell-through of the console significantly.
Whether the Cube can retain its lead over the Xbox throughout the holiday sales season is the big question. A strong Christmas for the GameCube would erode Microsoft’s lead in the installed base figures for the USA significantly, and give Nintendo a more comfortable lead over its American rival in terms of global sales figures. Expect plenty of conflicting press releases and figures to fly across the bows of both companies in the coming months.