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PS3 UK sales rocket... then plummet

Official sales monitor charts console's curved trajectory

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Sony's PlayStation 3 has been on a rollercoaster ride here during the past two weeks, rising to an incredible peak - then plunging rapidly back toward the ground. At least, that's what the next-gen consoles sales figures have done.

The PS3 arrived here on 23 March. During its first weekend on sale, some 600,000 consoles were shifted across Europe, netting Sony €400m once games and accessory sales were factored in too.

In the UK, the console broke the launch weekend sales record, with 165,000 PS3s being sold, according to local retail sales monitor ChartTrack. That compares to the 105,000 Wiis and 50,000 Xbox 360s Nintendo and Microsoft shifted in their own launch weekends.

Move forward to week two, however, and PS3 sales plunged 82 per cent, ChartTrack admitted, according to a GamesIndustry.biz report. The company wouldn't say how many units had been shifted, and would have preferred not to have revealed the launch figure had not public clamour demanded it.

But it's not hard to estimate the number: 29,700, based on ChartTrack's two figures.

To what extent that's due to limited availability is unknown. But anecdotal evidence garnered from Register Hardware readers around Europe suggests at least some stores had stock once the initial fanboy furore had passed.

That leaves us with price. As we revealed last week, the UK is one of the most expensive places to buy a PS3 - though we should point out that New Zealanders and Irish residents are being hit harder than the Brits on this. The UK price is almost double what folk in Hong Kong pay, a differential that can't be explained by freight, import duty and sales taxes alone.

And this despite the fact that there are fewer components in the European PS3 than in the units sent to Japan and the US.

Sony Europe may have to address its new console's pricing sooner than it may have planned.

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