The Sony PS3 could be about to pull off one of the biggest turn-arounds the games market has ever seen. After a slow start, where Sony's console was hampered by its high pricing and lack of quality games, the PlayStation 3 now looks like it's on a roll.
Now that the PS3 and Xbox 360 price-changes and various new models have settled into the market place, sales figures for both consoles are looking dramatically different.
PS3 on the charge
Through August and September, the Xbox 360 was consistently outselling the PlayStation 3 by quite a margin. In late September, the combined might of the new Xbox 360 Elite and Halo 3 gave Microsoft a 30,000 unit lead over Sony (according to VG Chartz data).
But the "Halo" momentum has definitely slowed for Microsoft and the fortunes of the two consoles have seemingly reversed.
While the Nintendo Wii is still way out in front in Europe (VG Chartz estimates that it sold 50,000 plus in the past two weeks), the PS3 is now consistently outselling the Xbox 360 in the UK for the first time.
In the few weeks after the PS3's price-cut, Sony's console sales effectively doubled, rising from a steady 5,000 per week in September to 12,000 plus at the end of October .
In the week ending 28 October, VG Chartz has the PS3 outselling the Xbox 360 by 10 per cent in the UK, and by almost 50 per cent in Europe /other markets.
Xbox 360 in danger?
The PS3's increased sales are most likely down to Sony's new 40GB model and its more affordable £299 price tag (£279 on Amazon.co.uk). At this price, the PS3's Blu-ray player becomes a more attractive home entertainment buy. The PS3 still lacks the "killer" games that would sell the system on its own.
It certainly makes the run-in to Christmas interesting. If the PS3 can now outsell the Xbox 360 despite a lack of AAA titles, what's going to happen when the new Gran Turismo and Wipeout games come out for the console? Or will Microsoft's roster of Xmas games such as Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed give the Xbox 360 another much needed boost?
Despite a painfully slow start for Sony on this one, things are looking up. And they're going to get even better next year.
The only stumbling block for Sony now looks like being North America. The Wii and the Xbox 360 are still thumping the PS3 in the USA, and Sony is going to have to do something about it. Maybe those game launches are exactly what the doctor ordered?