Nintendo has taken over the No. 2 spot in the console wars, according to sales figures released by Nintendo today. Game Boy Advance sales remain stong in spite of two new products entering the market (Tapwave and N-Gage). Hardware and software sales for Nintendo in 2003 showed strong growth over 2002. Nintendo's success bumped Microsoft's Xbox to the No. 3 position in the 2003 console wars.

Global holiday sales for Nintendo GameCube in 2003 outpaced 2002 by 70 percent, and Nintendo does not plan to change its global sales target of 6 million Nintendo GameCube systems this fiscal year.

Nintendo estimates for 2003, Nintendo GameCube U.S. hardware sales increased by more than 35 percent over 2002; Sony's PlayStation 2 dropped by about 25 percent and Xbox remained flat. In December, Nintendo GameCube hardware sales rose 69 percent over December 2002, compared to a drop of about 30 percent for PlayStation 2.

U.S. sales got a boost from a Sept. 25 price drop, which brought Nintendo GameCube to an MSRP of $99.99. Nintendo GameCube has now sold nearly 6.8 million units in the U.S. since its 2001 launch. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! has become the fastest-selling Nintendo GameCube game in the United States, selling more than 1 million units in seven weeks.

"With the price drop for Nintendo GameCube and strong games across the board, we expected to have a good holiday season, but these numbers surpassed even our best projections," explains George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. "Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance have become the engines powering the video game industry this year."

The hand-held Game Boy Advance also saw double-digit increases in the United States, with nearly 2.5 million units sold in December, an 11 percent increase over December 2002. Nintendo sold more than 8.2 million Game Boy Advance systems in 2003, an increase of 18 percent over 2002 and the most sold in one calendar year in the 14-year history of the Game Boy. In 2003, the Game Boy Advance outsold PlayStation 2 by nearly 2 million units.

The 2003 sales for Nintendo GameCube software increased 63 percent over 2002, while Xbox software increased 54 percent and PlayStation 2 software increased 23 percent