PS3 Targets Still On Track Says Sony; Sales Numbers On PS3 And Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD External Drive.

The Associated Press has reported that Sony is sticking with its target of having six million PlayStation3 game consoles shipped to retailers by March, the end of the fiscal year. Further, Sony claims it will also meet its goal of having two million PS3s shipped by the end of this calendar year.

In addition, PS3 sales continue to be amazingly brisk, and essentially are sold out as soon as they arrive at stores. GameDaily BIZ reports that sales data from the NDP Group places PS3 sales through November at 197,000 here in the US. Interestingly, while initial industry estimates were higher, NPD is reporting sales in the US for Microsoft's HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 game console to the tune of 42,000 units.

While the 42K number isn't quite as flashy as the 100,000 units in one week we'd read previously, that still probably doubles the install base for HD DVD. While Toshiba's representatives have not given us any official sales numbers for HD DVD, at CEDIA 2006 in the middle of September the company was claiming and install base of 30,000 players.

On top of that, HD DVD software sales remain strong, with over 1.5 million units shipped as of November 10th, indicating that the people who are buying players are buying a lot of movies to watch on them! And November 10th was before the release of some high profile new release titles, such as Superman Returns, Miami Vice, and Oliver Stone's World Tracde Center, as well as the HD DVD debut of Peter Jackson's blockbuster remake of King Kong.

And of course, HD DVD's supporters note that the HD DVD add-on drive serves no purpose but to watch HD DVD movies, and so each its sales numbers is someone who will be buying and watching movies on the format. Their mantra is that while the PS3 certainly includes integrated Blu-ray playback, it's not possible to tell who's actually using it to spin the next-gen discs.

I can see the logic of this point, but the bottom line is that PS3s are at nearly 200,000 units in the US, and growing with every shipment. And Sony claims it's going to ship several million of these suckers by March, with at least two million of those suckers coming here. If even a fraction of those people buy movies and video on Blu-ray it's easy to see BD sales rising.

The next year of software sales could tell us a lot about the length and intensity of this little format war.