PS3, Xbox 360 hit console sales milestones in Japan

The latest sales data shows the Xbox 360 is doing much better in the tough Japanese market than its predecessor

Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 have both hit sales milestones in Japan in the last week.

PS3 sales passed the 3 million unit mark while Microsoft sold its millionth Xbox 360 in the country since those consoles were released, according to data released Tuesday by Famitsu Marketing Services.

The company compiles console hardware and games sales reports from data collected from point-of-sale systems at shops across Japan.

That the PS3 has outsold the Xbox 360 is no real surprise, but the figures do show how much better the Microsoft console has done in Japan this time around versus the original Xbox.

The original console sold just 470,000 units in Japan compared to 21 million PlayStation 2s -- a number that is still rising even with the availability of the PS3.

In contrast, both have been easily outsold by Nintendo's Wii, which is about to break the 8 million unit mark. The Wii was initially written off by some for its lack of high-definition graphics and simplistic approach to gaming.

The Wii dumps the joystick for an innovative motion-sensitive controller, which has proved to be the secret of its success.

Looking ahead there are clouds on the horizon for the Wii. Sales of the console are no longer climbing in Japan.

During the first nine months of the year, a total of 18.9 million consoles were sold versus 29.9 million in the same period of 2007, so Nintendo is having to come up with new reasons for people to buy the console or keep on using it. The latest is a video channel that will launch soon as an initially free service.

Both Sony and Microsoft are also expanding video services on their consoles to pull in more customers and, after a bumpy start for both consoles, games line-ups are improving and attracting more people to the systems.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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