Market researcher, Hitwise, has reported that last week the PlayStation 3 (PS3), overtook the Nintendo Wii as the most searched-for gaming console online.

Consumers logging on to find out about the PS3 were found to be looking for cheap consoles and comparing prices to markets overseas. Last week ‘Cheap PlayStation 3’ was found to be the fourth highest ranking search term including the keywords ‘PlayStation 3’.

However the data also revealed that compared to other recent console launches, online enthusiasm for the PS3 has failed to match that for other recent console launches. In 2005, when the console was first announced, the share of UK internet searches for the PS3 was nearly 50 percent higher than it was last week. The number of searches for Xbox 360 and Wii consoles in the week leading up to their launches was greater than for the PS3, the research shows.

Heather Hopkins, vice president of research at Hitwise UK, said: “The Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 benefited from well-timed and much-hyped launches in the lead up to the busy Christmas shopping season.” The PS3 suffered a delayed launch “due to a manufacturing fault, has been launched in a down-time for games consoles and is therefore missing a critical season boost,” she added.