PlayStation 3 on Target for Best-selling Year Yet

Sony's PlayStation 3 remains on course for record sales this year, the head of Sony's games business said on Wednesday.

The console has been selling well and is on target to match Sony's sales target of 15 million consoles for the fiscal year from April 2010 to March 2011, said Kaz Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment.

If Sony achieves its sales target, it will also push the total number of PlayStation 3 consoles sold since launch in 2006 to just over 50 million.

As of Sept. 30, cumulative global sales were at 41.6 million. Sales of the console typically peak in the year-end period between December and January.

The PlayStation 3, long a loss-making product, finally turned profitable last year when Sony launched a new model that cost less to make. Progress in chip-making technology allowed Sony to consolidate components, making the new model more compact and even allowing the company to lower the price and still make a profit. When the PlayStation 3 first launched Sony was relying on future sales of games to cover its losses on the hardware.

Sales have been buoyed in recent weeks by the launch of the Move motion controller system.

The Move is a wireless controller that includes a motion sensor and has a distinctive, glowing ball at one end. A camera unit connected to the console tracks the controller and combines this with data from the motion sensor to track where it is in three dimensions.

Sony sold 4.1 million of the Move controllers between launch in September and the end of November.

Around 80 percent of all PlayStation 3 consoles are connected to the Internet and many of those were recently updated to add support for 3D games and Blu-ray Discs, said Hirai.

Sony is hoping to attract console owners to a range of network services that offer premium content. The PlayStation Store already offers downloadable games and a video-on-demand service in many major markets.

On Wednesday, Sony launched a music streaming service for users in the U.K. and Ireland. "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" will be expanded to PlayStation 3 and other Sony networked consumer electronics products in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and the U.S. next year.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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