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Worldwide PlayStation 3 sales smash 70 million barrier

Sony on Friday announced that cumulative sales of its PlayStation 3 game console reached 70 million units this month.

Sony hit that milestone on 4 November, less than six years after launching the platform in 2006. The achievement puts the company in close competition with Microsoft, which less than a month ago announced the same number of sales for its rival Xbox 360. Both companies trail Nintendo, however, which has sold an estimated 96 million Wii consoles since 2006.

Meanwhile, Sony also revealed that sales of its PlayStation Move motion controller surpassed 15 million units worldwide as of 11 November. The Move controller, launched in 2010, is now supported by more than 400 games.

Sony in September launched a redesigned PS3 system, which is smaller, lighter, and sports more storage capacity than the previous version. The new PS3 is half the size of the original console, which means it's also about 25 per cent smaller than the 2009 "Slim" PS3.

"The new PS3 has been well received by consumers around the world," Sony said in the announcement.

Sony earlier this month officially rolled out an updated PlayStation Store, which combines a new design with a number of brand-new features for organisation and searching. The new store initially launched in the US., Canada, Mexico, and Brazil is also now available in Europe and North and Latin America "with more countries and regions to follow," Sony said.

Meanwhile, Sony said its PlayStation Network, launched in 2006, now operates in 59 countries and regions around the world. It is home to 170,000 pieces of downloadable digital content, including 57,000 games.

Looking forward, rumour has it that the successor to the PS3 is code named Orbis and it's coming in time for the holidays next year.

But as Sony touts its latest sales figures, the video gaming industry overall continues to struggle, facing double-digit, year-over-year declines in sales of hardware and software this October. New hardware sales saw the steepest declines, falling 37 per cent from £186 million in October 2011 to £118 million last month.