Sony Computer Entertainment Australia has just released their 2008 retail performance figures, boasting impressive software sales and accounting for almost half of Australia’s total software purchases for the entire year.

According to the GfK statistics, across the three Playstation gaming formats, 7.45 million units were sold, which accounts for a 42 per cent unit share of all Australian software sales in 2008.

In addition to this the PS3 recorded console sales of 213,000 units over the year, which now increases its install base to 460,000 units in Australian homes.

This figure is still the lowest install base for Australia, but Sony has made significant inroads against its rivals, and in particular has almost taken over Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

The Xbox 360 has approximately 537,000 units installed in Australian homes, only roughly 77,000 more than Sony, and keep in mind the Xbox 360 has been on the Australian market for over a year longer than the PS3.

Michael Ephraim, managing director SCE Australia & New Zealand, commented on the figures, “In 2008, PlayStation experienced the growth in sales that the whole Interactive Entertainment industry did, with these great results demonstrating the broad appeal of our content across all three of our platforms, truly offering something for everyone.”

Another key factor Ephraim was keen to promote was the dramatic increase in their free online service, Playstation Network, “of the 460,000 PS3 owners out there, almost 50 per cent of them have already discovered the benefits of the subscription free PlayStation Network, enjoying extensive content and access to the PlayStation online community.”

PlayStation’s current hardware install base across all platforms is now almost 3.5 million units in Australia, and Ephraim is sure this will continue to grow in 2009.

“2009 is set to be an even bigger year, as SCE Australia looks to broaden its range of both first party exclusives and third party titles.”

The biggest releases which are being backed by Sony include: Killzone 2, Heavy Rain, Infamous and the PS3’s take on the DVR market, PlayTV.