Blu-ray leads HD-DVD sales

PlayStation 3 boosts new hi-def DVD format

In the hi-def DVD format war among gamers, Blu-ray has an early lead getting into homes.

But since every PlayStation 3 comes standard with Blu-ray player, whether buyers want one or not, there’s no way to tell whether that lead will translate into DVD sales for studios.

According to industry tracker NPD Group, Sony sold 197,000 PlayStation 3’s in the U.S. in November, following the console’s Nov. 17 launch.

Microsoft, meanwhile, sold 42,000 units of its new HD-DVD player add-on for the Xbox 360 in the U.S. last month. Because the accessory has nothing to do with gaming, industryites can at least be sure that those 42,000 people want to watch HD-DVD movies.

Sony had said it would ship 400,000 PS3’s to North America by launch, but apparently only shipped half that, since retailers have universally sold out of every console they can get their hands on.

However, Sony prexy Ryoji Chubachi reportedly told media in Tokyo that the company is still committed to shipping a total of 2 million consoles for North America and Japan by the end of the year and 6 million by March, when the PS3 debuts in Europe.

Nintendo, meanwhile, sold 476,000 units in the U.S. last month of its console Wii, which launched two days after the PS3 and didn’t have as many production problems. Microsoft sold 510,000 Xbox 360s, its next-gen console that debuted a year ago.

Sony’s PS2, which costs just $129 and is in plentiful supply, outsold all the next-gen consoles in the U.S. last month with 664,000. Nintendo’s DS was the bestselling handheld gaming system, with 918,000 units.