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Finally, PlayStation 3 sales rise in Japan

Finally, PlayStation 3 sales rise in Japan

Sales of the PlayStation 3 in the Japanese market have finally begun to rise, four weeks after the console was launched, according to data from Media Create.

Sales for the week of 4 -10 December were a solid 60 percent higher than the week before and that could mean console-maker Sony Computer Entertainment is making good on its promise to increase production of the PlayStation 3. Sales of the console fell for the first three full weeks after launch due to Sony's inability to keep up with demand.

Sales in the week from 4 -10 December were 50,171 consoles, Media Create says. That makes it the second-best week for the PlayStation 3 since its launch week in early November when 81,639 consoles were sold, according to the market data provider.

The console remains difficult to find in Japanese stores and still fetches a slight premium on Internet auction sites despite a lot of the launch-buzz dying down. Recently the more expensive of the two PlayStation 3 models was attracting bids of around ¥66,000 (US$559) on Yahoo Auctions. It retails for around ¥59,800.

Sony has had to cut-back production plans for the PlayStation 3 because of problems getting a sufficient supply of blue lasers for the console. The lasers are important components for the Blu-ray Disc drive that is a major feature of the console. It initially planned to have two million consoles ready for a roughly simultaneous launch in Japan, the US and Europe and then another two million out by the end of 2006 and a further two million available by the end of March 2007.

This was scaled back to just two million in total by the end of 2006 and the European launch was pushed back to the first quarter of 2007. However Sony hasn't changed its overall target of six million consoles available by the end of March and last week Ryoji Chubachi, Sony president and chief executive officer of the electronics business, confirmed that the plan remains unchanged.

The latest Media Create figures also show that it's not just Sony that is grappling with supply issues. Nintendo, which launched its Wii console in Japan on 2 December, saw sales fall fast during its first full week on sale due to low supply. Just over 350,000 units of the Wii were sold during launch but this fell to 85,439 in the week of 4-10 December Media Create says.

As with the PlayStation 3, the Wii is difficult to find in Japanese games and electronics stores.

Japan Weekly Console Sales

Nov. 11-12
Nov. 13-19
Nov. 20-27
Nov. 27 to Dec. 3
Dec. 4 to 10
PlayStation 3
81,639
42,099
32,622
31,436
50,171
Wii
n/a
n/a
n/a
350,358
85,439
Source: Media Create

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