REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 19, 2002 — As Santa’s elves hustle to pack his sleigh in preparation for next week’s delivery of holiday loot, it’s clear that the Xbox video game system has topped the wish lists of video game enthusiasts worldwide. According to NPD Group Inc. data (NPD Funworld TRSTS November 2002), Xbox achieved its best month of the year for console sales in November. Data released today by Microsoft Corp. confirms that from Seattle to Singapore, Austin to Auckland and Detroit to Dublin, demand for Xbox has reached a fever pitch this holiday, widening the gap between Xbox and rival Nintendo GameCube while demonstrating that Xbox delivers a superior gaming alternative to Sony PlayStation 2.
According to market research firm NPD Group, a record number of Xbox systems flew off store shelves in November. Fueled by the recent launch of Xbox Live, a game portfolio boasting 200 titles and a special holiday offering, sales for November nearly doubled the previous month’s volume. November marked the seventh consecutive month in which Xbox console sell-through outpaced that of Nintendo GameCube.
A distinct winner among shoppers has been the Xbox Holiday Offer, a specially priced and packaged system complete with the Xbox console, Xbox Controller S and two of the best Xbox-exclusive games from Sega, “Sega GT 2002” and “Jet Set Radio Future.” In the first two months of availability, the Xbox Holiday Offer outsold Nintendo’s GameCube/Mario offering by 131 percent.*
Individual Xbox game titles also have been selling at a breakneck pace this holiday season. In November, shoppers snatched up more than 2.4 million Xbox games, making it the second-highest software sales month since the platform was introduced. Overall, Xbox has sold 34 percent more games than Nintendo since either console was introduced. “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell,” a wildly popular Xbox exclusive from developer Ubi Soft Entertainment, tops the bestseller list, with nearly a quarter million units sold worldwide in just the last two weeks of November.
“Sales figures confirm that ‘Splinter Cell’ on Xbox is at the top of every gamer’s wish list this holiday season,” said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. “There has never been a game that uses lighting, shadows and stealth better than ‘Splinter Cell,’ and the power of Xbox helps make that possible. You can see it in magazines, newspapers and broadcast reports that the consensus is ‘Splinter Cell’ is the best-looking and -playing game on the market, and it is only on Xbox this holiday.”
Perhaps most telling is the dazzling success of the Xbox Live service, which allows Xbox gamers in different locations to play against each other using a broadband connection. Launched just last month in the United States, the Xbox Live Starter Kits have exceeded sales expectations, eclipsing by 86 percentthe number of PlayStation 2 Network Adapters Sony sold in their first month of availability. Titles such as “MechAssault,” “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” and “Unreal Championship” are proving to be immensely popular with the Xbox Live crowd, with combined sales of more than 300,000 units in the United States in November. These top three Xbox Live titles attached at over 80 percent to the Xbox Live Starter Kit.
“All this data points to the fact that Xbox is well on the way to being a market leader,” said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer. “With solid support from leading developers, more than 300 games in development, 200 games available for this holiday and many big titles planned for 2003, it is not surprising that Xbox is at the top of wish lists on several continents.”
Holiday highlights for Xbox from around the world include the following:
Sales of the Xbox holiday offering have catapulted Xbox into the No. 2 spot across the continent. (Source: ChartTrack & GfK)
In the United Kingdom, the largest video game market in Europe, Xbox is consistently outselling GameCube by more than two to one this holiday. (Source: ChartTrack)
The Xbox Live Consumer Beta and Test Drive program have been a great success, and momentum continues to build for the European retail launch, which is on track for March 14, 2003.
The sales gap between Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2 last week narrowed to only 4 percent (source: Inform) as Christmas shoppers made Xbox the home entertainment gift of choice.
Xbox weekly market share doubled to 46 percent over the past eight weeks. In the last two weeks of November alone, gift-givers Down Under grabbed more than 23,000 Xbox units. (Source: Inform)
Xbox launched in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan last month and is now available at more than 230 select retail outlets throughout the region. Xbox will be available in Korea Dec. 23.
At an Xbox launch event in Singapore Nov. 21, more than 5,000 people lined up to buy Xbox systems before the event stocks sold out. At a similar event the next day in Hong Kong, shoppers cleaned out the initial stock in just three hours.
New Xbox games are arriving in Asia every week. Plans call for up to 50 new games from Microsoft and other leading game publishers.
Holiday sales are going well with competitive holiday offers available to consumers throughout Japan.
There are more than 75 titles available for Xbox in Japan during this holiday season. New holiday titles include “Shin Megami Tensei Nine,” “Panzer Dragoon TM ” and “O-TO-GI,” “Blinx TM : The Time Sweeper TM ” and “Kakuto Chojin TM .”
A consumer beta of Xbox Live is successfully underway to 5,000 gamers. Xbox Live is set to launch Jan. 16, 2003, with Sega’s “Phantasy Star Online Episode I and II” and other exciting launch titles.
The first launch of a video game platform in Mexico kicked off very successfully. Xbox officially launched in October and is the next-generation console most widely available at Mexican retail (718 outlets).
Xbox ( http://www.xbox.com/ ) is Microsoft’s future-generation video game system that delivers the most powerful games experiences ever. Xbox empowers game artists by giving them the technology to fulfill their creative visions as never before, creating games that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Xbox is now available in North America, Japan, Europe and Australia.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
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