In the time before E3, many analysts were saying that, as a result of its $149 price drop, the Xbox had begun to outsell the PlayStation 2 in the US American Technology Research analyst P.J. McNealy told CBS Marketwatch that Microsoft's console sold 270,000 units during the month, compared to 200,000 PS2s and 100,000 Nintendo GameCubes.
Today, Microsoft echoed McNealy's assertion, announcing that the Xbox was indeed America's top-selling console in April. In a press release, Microsoft claimed the Xbox captured 51 percent of the US console market in the month following the March 30 price drop, with sales up 135 percent by volume compared to 2003. Comparatively, PlayStation 2 sales declined 29 percent to hit a 32-percent share, while the Nintendo GameCube sales dropped 5 percent to a 17-percent market share.
Curiously, Microsoft didn't give specific sales numbers as McNealy did. However, the company did claim all its figures were from NPD, the top American game-market research firm whose studies are the industry standard. Microsoft also cited European data from GfK and ChartTrack, NPD European equivalents, which said the Xbox's market share increased from 23 to 26 percent in April in the UK, France, and Germany combined.
"This marks the first time ever that Sony has been knocked off the leaderboard by another console in this generation," boasted Microsoft's release, which went on to list various notable Xbox events at E3 2004.
However, questions remain about the longevity of the Xbox's rise in sales. When its price dropped to $99 last fall, the GameCube enjoyed a similar boost, also outselling the PlayStation 2 for a short time. Although, some analysts think the Xbox may see a more long-term gain in market share, due to exclusives such as Ninja Gaiden and Halo 2 as well as the recently announced deal to bring Electronic Arts' mega-popular online games to Xbox Live.