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UK Xbox 360 sales up 40%

Tue 18 Mar 2008 11:34am GMT / 7:34am EDT / 4:34am PDT

The Xbox 360 enjoyed a 40 per cent spike in UK sales over the weekend following the Europe-wide price cut, according to Chart-Track.

The Xbox 360 enjoyed a 40 per cent spike in UK sales over the weekend following the Europe-wide price cut, according to Chart-Track.

The leap was welcomed by retail and will serve as a timely boost for Microsoft's platform in the build up to the busy Easter period, as its bitter rival Sony prepares a new PlayStation 3 hardware bundle to support the arrival of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue Edition.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Chart-Track director Dorian Bloch revealed: "Xbox 360 is up 35-40 percent - that's from Friday, when the price cut came into effect, up to midnight Saturday.

"Now it's a question of Easter," he added. "The real litmus test will be over the next three to four weeks — it's too early to read too much into it at this stage."

But while Xbox hardware was up, software did not enjoy an attendant rise. "That's mainly because the week prior there were big new 360 releases like Army of Two, Bully and MX vs ATV," Bloch noted, explaining that a drop-off in the following week is typical.

As for the rest of the hardware market, Sony's indefatigable PlayStation 2 was a surprise star performer. "The greatest surge was on PS2," Bloch said. "There was a lot of price promotion going on, with certain titles being well and truly flogged. It's now the calm before the high point of Easter."

Meanwhile, pleased by the weekend uplift, UK retail is confident that 360 will continue to gain momentum in the coming weeks. "Generally the market as a whole lifted between 35-40 per cent and we were in line with that," offered HMV spokesperson Gennaro Castaldo.

"That's obviously fairly significant, given we didn't have too much time to communicate it to our consumers. So with a lot more of the marketing kicking in now we expect it to grow even more in the coming days and weeks."

Microsoft slashed the price of all models of 360 in Europe last week, with Arcade down to GBP 159, Premium at GBP 199 and Elite at GBP 259. While no imminent price cut for the PlayStation 3 is expected, Sony is to release a hardware bundle featuring GT5: Prologue for GBP 299 next week.

Elsewhere, despite 360's leap, Nintendo topped the software charts for the week ending March 15th, with Wii and DS title Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games returning to the top spot for a seventh week since its release in late 2007.

"Longevity has been skewed by Nintendo formats," Bloch said. "The average length of time for a title in the top 40 now is 18 weeks — but that's been skewed by Brain Training, which has been there for 93 weeks, and New Super Mario Bros on 90 weeks. Those titles are really lengthening the tail."

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