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MS claims US weekend sales victory in console war

Sold three times as many machines as Sony did, apparently

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Is Sony regretting its decision to keep the PlayStation 3's price where it is? The latest sales data from the States suggests it might well be.

The stats centre on sales made this past weekend and Friday - the three days after the US Thanksgiving celebration. Microsoft said 25 per cent more Xbox 360s were purchased during the period than over the same weekend in 2007.

Last year, Microsoft said it sold 310,00 Xbox 360s during the Black Friday weekend, so it must have sold around 387,500 this time.

The software giant claimed three times as many punters bought Xbox 360s as PS3s, putting Sony's sales on roughly 129,000. In 2007, Microsoft alleged its machine outsold its arch-rivals by 2:1.

Sony hasn't weighed in with numbers and claims of its own, and we've yet to see confirmatory figures from an independent market watcher, such as NPD. It's likely to report solely on sales made during November as a whole. Last year, some 770,000 Xbox 360s were sold during the month to 466,000 PS3s.

That's a lower ratio than 2:1, suggesting that Microsoft did particularly well during the Black Friday weekend. It's hard not to conclude that if it has, it has done so on the back of being rather cheaper than the competition, thanks to price cuts made in September.

The 80GB PS3 costs $400, the same price as the top-of-the-line 360. But MS also offers consoles at $300 and $200.

Microsoft claimed its offering had outsold the PS3 "week after week" in Europe since then, though it didn't say by how much - not a lot, we suspect. It said sales were up nearly 100 per cent on last year's total, taking the Europe-wide Xbox 360 installed base to 7m.

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