Microsoft's Xbox 360 has outsold Sony's PlayStation 3 in Japan for the first time, according to a closely watched weekly sales ranking.

In the week of Oct 29 to Nov 4 the Xbox 360 sold 17,673 units against the PlayStation 3's 17,434, said Media Create. The company receives actual sales data from around 3,000 stores across Japan and uses that to estimate nationwide sales.

The Xbox 360 was helped during the week by the release of Ace Combat 6, an awaited strategy game that sold just under 77,000 copies at launch and was ranked the number two title of the week in Japan.

Beating Sony in its home market is quite a feat for Microsoft. The Xbox 360 has trailed the PlayStation 3 every week since the latter's launch in November last year and its predecessor, the original Xbox console, never did well in Japan. Despite initial failure Microsoft has persevered in Japan and come up with a line-up of titles by Japanese developers that are designed to make the Xbox 360 more attractive to local games.

Sony lost out in part due to the relative unpopularity of the PlayStation 3. Despite beating the Xbox 360 it hasn't been able to win against Nintendo's Wii and is still being outsold by the PlayStation 2. Largely this is due to the high price of the console compared with competing machines.

Sony recently said that it would strive to make the PlayStation 3 cheaper while also launching a redesigned PlayStation 2.