PS3 sales explosion thanks to Final Fantasy XIII

The console had its best week of sales in months

Sony's PlayStation 3 got a boost from last week's launch of Final Fantasy XIII as Japanese consumers snapped up special-edition consoles to give the PS3 its best week since a relaunch several months ago, according to data released on Friday.

Sales of the PS3 totaled 237,086 units in the week of Dec. 14 of which about 92,000 units were a "Final Fantasy XIII" special edition offered by Sony, said Media Create. Final Fantasy XIII, the latest installment in the long-running Final Fantasy series, launched on Dec. 17 so the figures cover its first four days on sale.

The weekly sales easily outpace those of recent weeks and are higher than those of early September when Sony relaunched the PlayStation 3 in a slimmer case and with a lower price tag. The PS3 sold 152,000 units during its relaunch week, according to Media Create.

The relaunch helped breath new life into the PlayStation 3 platform and push sales higher in the last three months. The PlayStation business remains a money loser for Sony but the company has targeted 2010 as the year it will return its gaming operations to profitability. The launch of games like Final Fantasy XIII plays an important role in this plan.

The Final Fantasy XIII software scored a major success for Square Enix with sales of just over 1.5 million copies over its first four days, said Media Create.

Sony is also attempting to widen the console's appeal.

Services such as movie rentals are being added to the PlayStation 3 and will be expanded next year with the addition of TV shows and other content. Sony has also pledged to offer a software update that will bring the capability to play back 3D content on Blu-ray Disc.

Sony's chief rival in the Japanese market, Nintendo, scored second place for the week. In the software chart its New Super Mario Bros. Wii ranked with 567,890 copies sold while the Wii console chalked up sales of 191,915 units, said Media Create.

Media Create estimates game software and hardware sales from point-of-sales system data gathered from around 3,000 retailers across the country.

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Martyn Williams

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