Microsoft's Xbox has had its most successful week to date this year in Japan, capturing almost 7 per cent market share following a price cut to the hardware and the launch of a Project Gotham Racing 2 bundle deal.
Although that market share still represents well under 8000 units sold in total, it's still a massive gain for the console - which generally languishes at under 1 per cent market share in this territory. The price cut which caused the boost was a drop from 16,800 Yen (â'¬129) to 14,800 Yen (â'¬113).
Sales were undoubtedly assisted by the new 19,800 Yen (â'¬152) PGR2 bundle - which also incorporates a copy of Halo, two control pads, a DVD kit and two months free subscription to Xbox Live - although PGR2 itself failed to chart in the software top ten.
That top ten was dominated by two new releases, with Bandai's PS2 title Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 - based on the massively popular mid-nineties anime series - at number one, and Nintendo's Pokemon Colosseum, described as the company's first fully 3D Pokemon console RPG, at number two. Both titles sold over 100,000 units in their debut weekend.
Four other new releases also make it into the top ten ranking, with Nintendo's Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) at number three and Sega's Let's Make A Pro Baseball Team! 2003 at number four. The entry at number nine will be familiar to most readers, being SCEE Team Soho's hit title from last Christmas, The Getaway - now being released in Japan by Capcom, which also had success with its Japanese release of Grand Theft Auto III recently.
At number ten in this chart this week is Xenosaga Episode 1 Reloaded: Der Wille zur Macht, a re-release of Monolith's acclaimed Xenosaga Episode 1 role-playing game. The relaunch of the first episode of the game includes updated content and a number of gameplay tweaks, and precedes the arrival of Episode II of the series next year.
Aside from Microsoft's success in the hardware stakes, the hardware sales chart is largely unchanged from last week, with the PlayStation 2 continuing to hold around 50 per cent market share following a recent price cut. The GBA comes in second with just under 25 per cent share, while the GameCube continues to perform healthily with 18.21 per cent market share.