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PS3 sales catches up to Xbox 360

Sony has announced that it has sold 70 million units worldwide since the console's launch in 2006.

Sony has announced that it has sold 70 million units worldwide since the console's launch in 2006.

The most recent iteration of the PS3. (Credit: Sony)

As of 4 November, Sony's worldwide sales of the PlayStation 3 console hit the 70 million mark — meaning that it's now slightly past this, unless everyone stopped buying PS3s for two weeks. Meanwhile, on 30 September, Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 had hit 70 million units worldwide, meaning that the two consoles are well within spitting distance for second place in the current-generation console wars.

Second place? Oh, yes — Nintendo happily announced that the Wii has sold 97 million units as of September this year, making it the easy front runner. It's also the first company to launch its next-generation console, the Wii U, although we'll have to wait until 30 November to get it in Australia.

With Sony and Microsoft neck and neck, it's interesting to look at the year-on-year sales to get a sense of each console's trajectory.

Sony's sales chart has the company selling around 13-14 million PS3s per year. In the 2010 financial year (ending 31 March 2011), it sold 14.3 million consoles. In the 2011 financial year, it was 13.9 million. Sony has currently sold 6.3 million PS3s, meaning that it's pretty much on track to match last year's sales before we hit 31 March 2013.

Microsoft, on the other hand, sold 12 million Xbox 360s last year, and has sold 4 million this year; basically, it looks like Sony sales will be outpacing the Xbox.

There's not too much time left on this generation of consoles; the hardware is all six or seven years old, and game devs are already complaining about the limitations that this is placing on what they can create.

So, while we don't know what the PS4 and the Xbox 720 will bring, when they'll bring it or even what they'll be called, the race is on for Sony and Microsoft to see who can place as first runner-up.