Meanwhile, back on the PlayStation 3 ranch, now that Ken has been put out to pasture , things seem to be picking up again. In fact, sales of the console in the first full week of December show marked increases, suggesting Sony 's supply problems may be behind it.

Market research specialist Media Create says the week to 10 December saw Sony shift 50,171 PS3s in Japan, which is approaching the dizzy heights that marked the launch period in November, when 81,693 consoles were sold in the first two days alone. In the previous week only 31,436 PS3s were available to shoppers in Japan.

Nintendo Wii suffers slump

Media Create also notes that Nintendo 's Wii is suffering too - the blockbusting console sold 350,000 units at launch but supply shortages saw that fall to just 85,439 in the most recent week reported. Given the decreasing sales gap between the two new systems, it would appear that reports of the PS3's early demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Eagle-eyed readers will also notice that the Media Create page finally shows some sales for the original Xbox, which is better than the big fat zero we saw last time we looked. Either someone really loves the clunky old console or half a dozen Japanese kids are going to have a heck of a let-down when they tear off the wrapping next Monday. J Mark Lytle