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Microsoft Xbox sales spike
Sony's still the undisputed leader, though, as the gaming industry heads for the $10B mark.
December 17, 2002: 6:36 PM EST
By Chris Morris, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that sales of its Xbox console unit have risen dramatically this holiday season.

In a letter to analysts, Microsoft said it sold 468,000 consoles in November, nearly twice the number sold in October. That number, from NPD, the primary source of data for the videogame industry, does not include sales at Wal-Mart. Still, it is far behind the industry-leading PlayStation 2.

Sony on Monday reported to analysts that it has sold more than 1 million PlayStation 2 systems "in the first couple of holiday shopping weeks." The spike was due in large part to the company's bundling of two games and a more popular controller with the machine in mid-October. But the larger number of Xbox owners is also helping software sales.

Some 2.4 million Xbox games were sold in November, a number the company has topped only once. Its best seller was Ubi Soft's "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell," which sold 224,000 copies in just two weeks. Five other Xbox games topped sales of 100,000 in November. Sony's big title appears to be "SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals," an online action game which has sold a half-million copies in three months.

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Also selling well is the starter kit for Xbox Live, the online component of the Xbox. Again quoting NPD, Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) said sell-through for the kit was 136,000 units. That number still lags far behind the number of online adaptors sold by Sony, which recently told analysts it is on target to sell 400,000 units by the end of the year.

Nintendo, the third major player in the console wars, has not informed analysts on how its holiday sales are proceeding.

In its note to analysts, Sony (SNE: Research, Estimates) said U.S. retail sales of videogame hardware, software and accessories have exceeded $6 billion so far this year, which is a 25 percent increase over a year ago. Quoting NPD, it said the industry is expected to bring in $4 billion ore by year's end. If so, it will top last year's revenue record of $9.4 billion.  Top of page

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