NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Nintendo Co. said Thursday the first shipment of its new GameCube video game console has virtually been sold out and that its sales are outpacing initial sales of competing systems from Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp.
The company said the first weekly replenishment of approximately 125,000 units already is arriving at stores. Of the first North American shipment of 740,000 units, about 100,000 were slated for Canadian and Latin American markets and 75,000 went to U.S. rental and other distribution channels. The remaining units went to U.S. retail locations.
The units debuted in U.S. stores the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The GameCube is priced at just under $200, about $100 less than the Xbox from Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) or the PlayStation 2 from Sony (SNE: Research, Estimates).
|A long line of game buyers wait at a store in Burbank, Calif., to purchase the Nintendo GameCube on the first day it was available.
Nintendo said its initial sales rate was nearly twice that of Microsoft's Xbox and at least 25 percent faster than the launch of Sony's PlayStation 2 last year.
"There is a seemingly endless appetite for high quality, stay-at-home entertainment at an affordable price," Peter Main, executive vice president for sales and marketing of Nintendo of America, said.
Analysts estimate that Nintendo is losing about $20 per GameCube sold, but that still is less than the estimated $100 being lost on the sale of each Xbox, despite the higher price.
The company said its game Luigi's Mansion for the GameCube has become the most popular console launch game ever, with sales eclipsing those of Super Mario 64, which launched with the Nintendo 64 console in 1996.
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The company said customers are buying about two games with each GameCube purchase. Some buyers have criticized the selection available at the launch, pointing out there are fewer than those available for the Xbox. Nintendo said it will offer two more games, Pikmin and Super Smash Brothers Melee, next week, and have 22 Game Cube games available by year's end and 35 by the end of March 2002.
Shares of Nintendo lost ¥320, or 1.5 percent, to ¥20,690 in Tokyo Thursday.