Thanks to a new slim-line product model and a healthy price cut, Sony's PlayStation 3 did something in September that it had never done before: It outsold all of the competition, including even the Nintendo Wii. Sony sold 491,800 PS3 consoles in the United States in September, compared to 462,800 for the Nintendo Wii and 352,600 for the Xbox 360.

Sony's rise to the top is likely just temporary, but it suggests that the PS3 has a lot of life left in it despite generally lagging behind the other consoles since its release in 2007. The PS3 has outsold the Xbox 360 several times, but neither the PS3 or Xbox 360 had ever outsold the Wii before.

Microsoft responded to Sony's 15 minutes of fame by claiming that the Xbox 360 would outsell the PS3 over the lifetime of this generation of consoles. But given the sales trends, it seems that Microsoft will have to rely on its year-long head start in the market to accomplish that goal. Microsoft, too, cut prices on the Xbox 360 in September (as did Nintendo, for the first time with the Wii), but was unable to overcome the PS3.

Microsoft can, however, point to the Xbox 360 ecosystem, which continues to perform at a higher level than that of either other console, thanks in part to a thriving online community. Sales of Xbox 360 hardware, software, and accessories are the highest in the industry by both unit sales and dollar value, according to market researchers at NPD. And unlike with the other consoles, these sales are up year-over-year.

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