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Sony's new PS3 Slim outsold both the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360 in September, according to the NPD Group.  (Source: Amazon.com)
Sony has something to cheer about and Microsoft is giving bargain hunters something to jeer about

The Wii has dominated next generation console sales, with the Xbox 360 settling for a distant second.  The Sony Playstation 3, meanwhile, traditionally was even further behind, settling for last place.

Well, Sony finally has some good news to report.  Thanks perhaps to a new $299.99 price point and "slim" redesign, the PS3 soared to first place on the NPD Group's September sales charts, moving 491,800 units.  Perhaps those new Kevin Butler ads produced by Deutsch LA worked as well.

Whatever, the secret sauce was, it rudely bumped Nintendo's Wii to second place, with 462,800 units sold.  Xbox 360, meanwhile was left with 352,600 units in sales.  NPD analyst Anita Frazier who authored the report did state that the Xbox 360 manage "the most to industry unit and dollar sales as sales of the 360 hardware, software and accessories comprised 32 percent of the month's revenues."

The industry as a whole recovered in September from several bad months, earning $1.28B USD, compared to $1.27B USD from a year before.

While Microsoft's 360 hardware is selling well, driven in part by strong third-party sales, those sales may soon take a hit.  In other news, previewers of latest Xbox 360 update are reporting that it locks out "unauthorized" storage devices.

Currently the Xbox 360 comes in two SKUS -- an Arcade edition ($199.99) and a more expensive version with a hard drive.  The Arcade version necessitates the purchase of a memory stick to store saved games, high scores, etc. as it has very little built in storage (512 MB).

Microsoft offers a 512 MB stick for $29.99.  Third parties, however, have been offering drastically cheaper version of the proprietary USB sticks, including ones that feature SD card expansion slots.  One leading model is the 2 GB Datel, which is only $39.99 and takes microSD cards.

Rather than let its competitors continue to embarrass it with better priced alternatives, Microsoft appears to have opted to lock them out of the party.  While hardcore modders will surely find a way around these restrictions, the update will likely kill the option for casual users and dramatically reduce the amount of commercial third-party offerings.

Microsoft likely hopes that the strategy will help to ensure it a bigger cut of the Xbox 360's lucrative peripheral sales.

Some users are arguing that Microsoft's coming restrictions are no worse that Sony's.  Sony restricts the PS3 to only use a proprietary memory stick format.  However, Sony does grant users the right to install a new internal hard drive (something you can't do with the Xbox 360 Arcade Edition).




"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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