The news Sony has been waiting for may finally have arrived, as the PlayStation 3 price cuts and model changes have resulted in a doubling of sales in the US.

Figures for last week show that the PS3 sold over 100,000 units in the seven days to 11 November; a vast increase over the 30,000 to 40,000 consoles Sony was shifting before the recent changes.

Sony breathes again

Key to the upswing in fortunes for the beleaguered console have been the introduction of a new 40GB model at $399 (£193) in the US and a price drop for the 80GB model to $499 (£241).

According to AP, Sony boss Howard Stringer couldn't hide his relief: "It's the breakthrough we've been anticipating. We've been holding our breath. Finally, the turning point has been passed."

Stringer also showed the ruthless side he has become known for, seizing on the widely reported problems Nintendo is having with making enough consoles. "It's a little fortuitous that the Wii is running out of hardware," he said gleefully - we can almost hear him rubbing his hands together.

Xbox 360 will benefit

While the price cut and lack of Wii hardware is driving renewed interest in the PS3, the console still suffers from a lack of quality titles. Microsoft's Xbox 360 still has the best software line-up this year.

"With a shortage of Wiis and ongoing consumer ambivalence towards Sony's PS3, the Xbox 360 is ideally placed for a great Christmas season," says Steve Jarratt, Editor-in-chief of Official Xbox 360 magazine. "It offers - hands-down - the best on-line and multiplayer offering of all three consoles."

Microsoft's console will also benefit from its second major firmware update of the year, due to go live on December 4. This will add a steady stream of affordable arcade games, Xbox Originals for a tenner and Hi-Def movie downloads. "It means that the 360 provides the best entertainment experience, whatever your tastes or budget," adds Jarratt.

But PS3 could be unstoppable

It's true that the Xbox 360's line-up is impressive - BioShock, Halo 3, Eternal Sonata, Ace Combat 6, Project Gotham 4 and the hugely anticipated Mass Effect. But it also shares some of the bigger titles ( FIFA 08, Pro Evolution 2008, GTA IV, Assassin's Creed) with the resurgent PS3.

"PS3 needed a price cut badly going into Christmas and it got it," says Gavin Ogden, Editor of CVG. "So far we've not seen the games we had hoped for, so a price cut was the only option for Sony. Xbox 360 is an attractive proposition, with it producing some of the best titles of its lifespan so far."

"2008 is already shaping up to be a great year for PS3 with both GTA IV and Metal Gear Solid 4 planned for release around March. Questions are already being raised about what 360 has up its sleeve for 2008..."

As for Nintendo, it only has itself to blame for the stock shortages. "Nintendo's had a year to sort [production] out and hasn't. People will go elsewhere so they're going to lose out to some degree."