Sony PlayStation 3 sales hit 50 million worldwide

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When Sony debuted the PlayStation 3 back in 2006, it was the heavyweight of the console world, packing graphics power and high-definition Blu-ray capabilities into a very expensive package. (Of course, in those days, a PS3 could also run PS2 games—and run Linux. But we digress.) A little over four years later, Sony has announced that worldwide sales of PlayStation 3 systems have topped 50 million units. Moreover, Sony says sales of the PlayStation Move motion controller for the PS3 have surpassed 8 million units worldwide.

Although the PlayStation 3 was initially expected to be a runaway success in the gaming industry—coming on the heels of the top-selling (and still available!) PlayStation 2, PS3 sales got off to a slow start, in part due to the consoles’ initial high price tag but also due to the unexpected runaway success of the Nintendo Wii, which—though underpowered compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360—captured consumers’ imaginations with innovative wireless motion controllers and readily available games that appealed to a broad range of users. Nintendo Wii sales dominated the gaming market for years—Nintendo has sold well over 60 million Wii remotes worldwide—and it’s only in this past holiday season that both Microsoft and Sony responded to Nintendo with motion-sensing systems of their own.

Last month Microsoft said it earned a world record by selling 10 million of its Kinect systems in just a two month period. In comparison, the PlayStation move has sold fewer units over a longer period of time.

Sony also says more than 75 million users have registered PlayStation Network accounts around the world.