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Sony Computer Entertainment America announced on Monday that it had shipped over one million of PlayStation 3 game consoles to its partners in North America. The number exceeds pessimistic predictions regarding PS3 shipments, however, it is still below Sony’s original optimistic estimates.

“SCEA went to great lengths to help meet demand for PS3, including airlifting systems into North America on a weekly basis to ensure a steady stream of units were available to consumers throughout the holiday season,” said Jack Tretton, president and chief executive, SCEA.

Sony said back in 2006 that it would only be able to ship 400 thousand of PlayStation 3 game consoles to the North America and 100 thousand to Japan for the launch in November, 2006. The manufacturer failed to meet its “day one” shipments targets due to manufacturing issues. During the whole calendar year 2006 the company aimed to distribute, according to news reports, two million new-generation consoles, two times less than anticipated originally. However, with only one million PS3s sold in North America and the lack of any claims regarding sales numbers for Japan, it is highly likely that Sony did not ship two million PlayStation 3 game consoles in calendar 2006.

Still, even one million sold next-generation consoles in one of Sony’s important regions indicates that the PlayStation 3 is still very popular among consumers despite its pretty high retail pricing.

“The fact that we were able to reach the one-million mark faster than our top-selling platform, PS2, further validates the strength of the PlayStation brand and our belief that consumers are ready to experience true high-definition gamin,” Mr. Tretton said.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp. and will be equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive. There are two versions of the PlayStation console available: one is equipped with 20GB hard disk drive and priced at $499, another features 60GB hard drive, card reader and some other improvements and is offered for $599.

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