Last week, Microsoft kicked off the 2007 full-year stats grab by announcing that sales of the Xbox 360 to date had reached 17.7 million units worldwide. Although the hardware maker wasn't forthcoming with exact sales numbers for 2007 alone, an extrapolation from previously announced numbers indicated Microsoft had sold 7.3 million units for the year, an 18 percent decline over the approximately 8.9 million units it sold in 2006, the console's first full year on the market.
Preemptive of its appearance at this year's Consumer Electronics Show 2008, Sony has responded in kind, announcing its North American holiday sales statistics for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable from November 23 through the end of December, traditionally the most lucrative time of the year for the gaming industry.
For the time period beginning Black Friday, Sony sold through 1.2 million PS3s in North America. Sony sold well over 5 million PS3s worldwide in 2007, according to the new figures and the console maker's previously reported sales numbers.
Sales for Sony's current-generation system nearly matched its workhorse PS2, which garnered 1.3 million units for the five-week holiday period. Slightly outpacing its console counterparts, Sony's popular handheld the PSP was the company's biggest performer for the period, shifting 1.4 million units. The PSP's sales were undoubtedly bolstered by the worldwide release of its redesigned PSP Slim in September.
Speaking of the PSP Slim, Sony also officially unveiled Skype Internet phone functionality for the redesigned handheld. As previously reported, Skype functionality will be added to the revamped model of Sony's portable later this month through a software update. In addition to free Skype-to-Skype calls, the service will accommodate calls to land lines and mobile phones across the globe for a fee. PSP Slim owners will also have the option to purchase a phone number for the Skype-enabled handheld. To use the service, PSP Slim owners will need a Memory Stick Duo, a wireless Internet connection, and a Skype-compatible microphone.