PlayStation 3 Holiday Sales Total 1.2 Million

TOKYO (AP) — Sony says its PlayStation 3 game machine sales totaled 1.2 million in North America during the key holiday season.

The news is a boost for the company’s Blu-ray video format because the PlayStation 3 also works as a Blu-ray player.

PS3 sales are closely watched because competition is intense among the video game consoles — pitting Sony against Nintendo, maker of the Wii, and Microsoft, maker of Xbox 360.

Competition is also fierce between the video formats Blu-ray and HD DVD, which was developed by Toshiba. Although both deliver better image quality than the DVDs more common today, one is expected to emerge the winner.

The HD DVD movie format took a potentially fatal blow Friday with Warner Brothers Entertainment’s announcement that it soon will release movies only in Blu-ray.

Only two major U.S. studios now favor HD DVD: Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric.