Sony's PlayStation console has passed a significant milestone in its history, with the 100 millionth unit of PS hardware being shipped earlier this week - almost a decade after it originally launched.

The figure includes sales of the original PlayStation, which was launched in 1994, and the later redesigned PSone console, which appeared at around the same time as the PlayStation 2 in 2000.

Sony claims that these figures make the PlayStation into the biggest selling game console of all time, although the Game Boy and its compatible successors are thought to have sold more overall.

The PlayStation family of consoles, however, is certainly the best selling in the world - once sales of the backwards-compatible PlayStation 2 are included, the figure is over 170 million hardware units shipped.

According to Sony's figures, the original PlayStation is now available in 120 countries worldwide, and over 7,300 games have been released for the platform.

The console has been most successful in North America, where 39.67 million units have been sold, followed closely by Europe with 39.61 million units, and trailed by Japan with 20.72 million units sold.

The success of the PlayStation eclipses every other home console of its era - but it may soon be overtaken by the PlayStation 2, whose sales have been ahead of its older sibling at every equivalent point in its lifespan since launch. The PS2 recently passed shipments of 70 million units, and is likely to ship its 100 millionth unit at some point in 2005.

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