Sony ships 1M PS3s in Japan, 2M worldwide

Japanese electronics giant reaches 2006 shipment goal a fortnight after year's end; console still the fastest-growing PlayStation product.

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The good news: Sony has reached its 2006 goal of shipping 2 million PlayStation 3s worldwide. The bad news: The electronics giant did so "as of today, January 16th, 2007," according to a statement, with the shipment of the 1 millionth PS3 in Japan. Earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony said it shipped 1 million PS3s in North America in 2006.

Though the fact Sony slightly missed its own self-imposed deadline will be catnip to anti-PS3 partisans, the company put a positive spin on the milestone. "Compared to its predecessor PlayStation platforms, [the] PS3 is the fastest to reach cumulative shipment of 2 million units worldwide," the company said. That means that, despite its hefty $599/$499 price points, the console is getting into the retail channel faster than the original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 did in 1994-95 and 2000, respectively.

As for actual 2006 sales of the PlayStation 3, the latest figures from NPD Funworld listed 687,300 PS3s as being sold in the US last year--a number Sony took issue with. "NPD doesn't account for Canada...[and] doesn't cover all of our USA retailers," Dave Karraker, Sony Computer Entertainment America's director of corporate communications, told GameSpot. "We sold-in more than 150,000 systems the last week of December, so there were many units in transit or at retailer's backrooms waiting to be put out [by the end of 2006]."

Expert opinion in Japan was mixed. Masayuki Otani, deputy chief of research at Maruwa Securities, was dubious of Sony's optimism. He told the Associated Press that many Japanese retailers have excess PS3s sitting unsold on shelves but can't keep Nintendo's far cheaper Wii console in stock. However, Hirokaza Hamamura, president of Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, was more upbeat. "Any product selling at about 85 percent can be considered a hit," he told the AP.

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