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PS3 sales surge after production boost

Shipments rise for first time since launch

Sales of the PlayStation 3 (PS3) in Japan have finally begun to rise, four weeks after the console was launched, according to data from Media Create.

Sales for the week of December 4 to December 10 were a solid 60 percent higher than the week before and that could mean console-maker Sony is making good on its promise to increase production of the PlayStation 3. Sales fell for the first three full weeks after launch due to Sony's inability to keep up with demand.

Over 50,000 consoles were sold in the week from December 4 to December 10, Media Create said. That makes it the second-best week for the PlayStation 3 since its launch week in early November when 81,639 consoles were sold, according to the market data provider.

The console remains difficult to find in Japanese stores and still fetches a slight premium on internet auction sites despite a lot of the launch-buzz dying down. Yesterday, the more expensive of the two PlayStation 3 models was attracting bids of around ¥66,000 (£283) on Yahoo Auctions. It retails for around ¥59,800 (£256).

Sony has had to cut-back production plans for the PlayStation 3 because of problems getting a sufficient supply of blue lasers for the console. The lasers are important components for the Blu-ray Disc drive that is a major feature of the console. It initially planned to have 2 million consoles ready for a roughly simultaneous launch in Japan, the US and Europe and then another 2 million out by the end of 2006. A further 2 million were to be made available by the end of March 2007.

This was scaled back to just 2 million in total by the end of 2006 and the European launch was pushed back to the first quarter of 2007. However Sony hasn't changed its overall target of 6 million consoles available by the end of March.

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