PS3 coming on strong

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

If recent video game sales data from the NPD Group is any indication, Sony's Playstation 3 is starting to come on strong. The console had four games - Rock Band, Call of Duty 4, Guitar Hero 3 and Burnout Paradise - in the top 20 for January sales in Canada, the first time the PS3 has accomplished that feat. Rock Band and Call of Duty were also sixth and seventh, respectively, matching the console's double entry in the top 10 of November, where the PS3 versions of Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty 4 sold well.

This must make Sony very happy because in order to have games rank in the top 20, there must actually be consoles out there for people to play them on. Indeed - the PS3 outsold the Xbox 360 over Christmas, according to NPD, and has made up some ground on its rivals. Sony has now sold 342,400 PS3 consoles in Canada, compared to 736,400 units of the Xbox 360, which had a year headstart. Nintendo is in second with 689,500 Wii units sold so far (the Wii was released at about the same time as the PS3).

Electronic Arts earlier this month predicted the PS3 will outsell the 360 this year. Given that Sony has definitively won the high-definition DVD war and the PS3 is the only Blu-ray player on the market that can have its software upgraded (by virtue of its internet connection), EA's prediction just may pan out. Also helping matters will be several big exclusive game releases, such as Gran Turismo 5 and Metal Gear Solid 4, which Sony just announced will hit stores by the end of its second quarter. If the PS3 has bounced back somewhat simply with games that are available on other platforms, the exclusive titles should give it a huge boost.

Speaking of exclusive titles... Wii owners who are missing out on the Rock Band phenomenon (the 360 version was January's top-selling game in Canada, according to NPD) could get some relief from Disney, which is producing a game that at this point sounds like a knock off. Ultimate Band will allow Wii and Nintendo DS owners to use their remote and stylus, respectively, to play songs by some of the "very biggest names in rock, alternative, popular, emo and indie rock music" (let the debate on exactly what "emo" is rage on). Unfortunately, Wii owners will have to wait till Christmas for Ultimate Band.