By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA) announced its fourth quarter 2006 figures, which show the PlayStation brand owned a 42 per cent share of the market, with both the PlayStation 2 (PS2) console and PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld console contributing to the success.

According to GfK, the seven year old PlayStation 2 console enjoyed 56 per cent of home console hardware sales in the last quarter, thanks to a resurgence in sales due to a competitive sub-$200 price point, and the success of the ‘social gaming’ titles, including EyeToy, SingStar and Buzz.

Year-on-year, the home console software market showed marginal growth, however PS2 software sales experienced growth at twice the rate of the total market, with 1.9 million PS2 software units sold in the last quarter, accounting for 71 per cent of all home console software units sold during this period.

Year-on-year, total PlayStation 2 software sales grew at a rate of 4.6 per cent.

“Both our current generation platforms ended the year on a high which will only continue in 2007,” said SCE Australia and New Zealand managing director, Michael Ephraim.

“With an install base now in excess of 2.2 million units of PlayStation 2, it is very pleasing to see Q4 sales of 1.9 million units of software. This result shows that our substantial range of titles not only appeals to a large number of console owners, but that the first class software available on PlayStation 2 is resulting in a large proportion of consumers purchasing multiple titles.

“The ongoing success of PlayStation 2 clearly demonstrates that the gaming industry is a long-haul race, with the platform enjoying a continued lifespan as it matures and broadens its appeal to new audiences. We are committed to maintaining the level of investment and innovation on the platform, with 2007 seeing some fantastic new titles, including the much anticipated sequel to the bestselling God of War, more SingStar and more Buzz.

“The PSP (handheld) platform also goes from strength to strength as we reap the rewards of our continued investment in software, firmware and peripherals for the portable entertainment device, with consumers appreciating the value and multi-functionality proposition it offers,” Ephraim said.

Sony is set to launch its latest gaming console, the PlayStation 3, in March this year, however an exact date is yet to be announced.

“Our current platforms are clearly driving market growth which is only set to continue in March 2007 when PlayStation 3 arrives in Australia, broadening our offering once again," said Ephraim.

“We will continue to be the only company to truly offer a gaming and entertainment experience for everyone – from hardcore gamers to social gamers to gamers on the go.”

With the impending arrival of PS3, 2007 will see SCE Australia increasing its marketing and retail activity leading up to the launch, with the first stage being a complete overhaul and relaunch of the PlayStation website (, uniting support, news and the latest product information for all three platforms on a single site.