So the Sony PlayStation 3 has been available for a little over a week in Europe, and in that time it has officially become the second fastest selling games console ever in the UK. ChartTrack, an organisation that monitors such things, reports that the first two days of release saw some 165,000 PS3 consoles sold. Second place in the history stakes isn’t all bad news for Sony, it also has the number one spot which was with the PlayStation Portable. The PSP shifted some 185,000 units at launch. The PS3 did break one record though, as the most expensive games console ever sold in Great Britain at a recommend street price of £425, which is roughly $840!
Nintendo could only manage a relatively poor 105,000 launch sales for the Wii, although the official reasoning for this is that there were supply shortages and many more could have been sold if they were physically available in the shops. No such excuses for Microsoft, it has to be said, with the launch figures for the Xbox 360 of just 70,000 being less than half that of the PS3.
What it does mean for the consumer is that demand has not outstripped supply for the PS3 as there were apparently some 220,000 consoles brought into the country which means that there must be at least 50,000 left to sell. This is good news as it mans that in the UK there is unlikely to be the same kind of mercenary selling of consoles on eBay at hugely inflated prices as was seen after both the US and Japanese launches. Indeed, over the weekend I saw numerous retail outlets with stock for the recommended street price. More incredibly though, eBay consoles are selling for around the street price and in some cases actually below this. Compare this with the Wii launch when eBay UK had consoles selling for double the launch price within just a day or two.
The PS3 launch software did amazingly well, selling three times as many units than the PS2 software did. The best seller was ‘Resistance: Fall of Man’ with ‘MotorStorm’ not far behind. The interesting statistics come when you look at the UK ‘All Formats Chart’ for the launch, with Sony taking the top three spots which is better than either Microsoft or Nintendo could manage with the Xbox and Wii, both of which grabbed the top two places only.
Of course, what this all means in the overall scheme of things remains to be seen. The console wars far from being won are only just beginning. The Xbox Elite will fire the next volley in the battle, and it will be interesting to see which side of the battlefield the casualties will fall. For now, however, Sony has performed a lot better than most pundits were predicting just a few short weeks ago...