Page last updated at 20:19 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 21:19 UK

Europe PS3 sales 'overtake 360'

By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website

A price cut in the summer of last year helped lift PlayStation 3 sales

Sony's PlayStation 3 games console has outsold Microsoft's Xbox 360 in Europe, according to figures released by Sony.

More than five million PS3s have been sold across the continent, Sony's David Reeves confirmed.

Speaking at a European PlayStation event in London, he said: "The numbers are a testament to the strength of the PlayStation brand."

He said PlayStation 3 had been outselling the Xbox 360 since October last year.

"We have sold more PlayStation 3s throughout Europe than Xbox 360 even though they launched 16 months before us."

Mr Reeves, head of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, also said 12 million PSP handheld consoles and 48 million PlayStation 2s had been sold in Europe.

Despite Sony's overhauling of Microsoft in Europe, both firms' sales are a long way behind the Nintendo Wii.

Price tag

Sony has managed to overtake Xbox 360 sales despite a much higher price tag.

The cheapest PS3 is available for 299, versus 159 for the Xbox 360.

"We have been consistently outselling our closest competitor [Xbox 360] since October 2007, even with the latest price point," said Mr Reeves.

Microsoft cut the price of Xbox 360 in March.

The PS3 is far more mass market than 360, which has gone for traditional adult males
Nick Parker, games consultant

The figures will cheer Sony after a painful launch period for the machine, which saw delays, stock problems and criticism from gamers that early titles for the machine were below par.

Kaz Hirai, Sony's global head of PlayStation, said the first year of PS3 had been difficult.

Speaking at the London event, he said: "There were teething problems... and customers were a little underwhelmed by early games."

'No surprise'

He said Sony was going to promote the PS3 as a "multi-faceted interactive entertainment system" in the year ahead.

Games consultant Nick Parker said it was "no surprise" that PlayStation had overtaken Xbox in Europe.

"The PlayStation has held out remarkably well over the last 18 months despite the press slating it because of the price. People got behind the brand.

"The PS3 is far more mass market than 360, which has gone for traditional adult males - and that does not go down well in continental Europe."

He said consumers in Europe had "never gotten over the design ethos of the original Xbox."

Microsoft had set out to broaden the appeal of its titles "but never did come up with the goods", he went on.

The Xbox 360 was performing well in the UK but has a "problem on the continent".

He said PlayStation 3 had "every chance" of overtaking the Xbox 360 in its heartland of North America in the next two to three years.

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