Japan PlayStation 3 Shipments Reach 1 million

Shipments in Japan of the new PlayStation 3 video game machines reached 1 million Tuesday, Sony said, hitting the company's target about two weeks behind schedule.

Sony had planned to ship 2 million PlayStation 3 machines around the world by the end of last year. Last week, Tokyo-based Sony Corp. said it met its shipping target of 1 million PS3 consoles in the United States in 2006.

It projected shipping another million in Japan during the same period. But speculation had been growing that PS3 sales may be faltering in Japan.

Sony Computer Entertainment brushed off such worries, noting in Tuesday's press release that a global shipment of 2 million reached within about two months after a machine's launch is the fastest pace for any game console ever put out by the company.

PlayStation 3 sales were expected to be strong in coming months because of the expected release of new game software in the works, according to Sony's game unit.

PlayStation 3, which has been delayed twice, went on sale in Japan and the U.S, late last year. It is set to go on sale in Europe in March.

The relative lack of games to play on PS3 so far has added to the concerns about sales at a time when the Wii console from Japanese rival Nintendo Co., which makes Pokemon and Super Mario games, has been a surprise hit.

The Wii, which comes with a wandlike remote controller, competing against PlayStation 3 during the critical Christmas shopping season.

Both Sony and Nintendo are targeting a shipment of 6 million of their respective machines by the end of the fiscal year through March.

The success of the PlayStation 3 is critical for Sony as it tackles a turnaround after suffering a big slump in its core electronics sector in recent years.

The PS3 supports Blu-ray disk next-generation video, whose arrival is expected to encourage sales of new gadgets.